Lawmakers with the Congressional Black Caucus held a press call on Monday to pressure Senate Republicans to pass a House bill on police reform.
Democrats in the House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in June. The legislation includes a ban on chokeholds and no-knock warrants, a grant program for state attorney generals to investigate police misconduct, and a requirement for police to use body cameras.
During the call, Houston area Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee said it was the most significant legislation yet in re-imagining policing.
“This is what the protesters have peacefully gone to American streets to protest,” Jackson Lee said. “To our great disappointment and demise, the United States Senate and the President of the United States refuse to join the House of Representatives in this bipartisan legislation to heal the nation and give a roadmap of success to 18,000 police departments across America.”
Congressman Al Green, also of Houston, said victims of police killings like George Floyd, Botham Jean, and Breonna Taylor would still be alive if the reforms in the bill would have already been law.
“Sandra Bland could have reached her destination,” Green said. “Botham Jean could have finished his ice cream in the safety of his home. Breonna Taylor could have awakened the next morning in the safety and comfort of her bed. George Floyd could still be breathing.”
Congressman Marc Veasey representing the Dallas-Fort Worth area said he stood with those peacefully protesting and condemned violent protests and looting.
“Today, I’m calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to the Senate floor for a vote so we can finally deliver real reform and accountability for anyone who has experienced abuse at the hands of some in law enforcement,” Veasey said.
The renewed calls to pass the legislation follow the police killing of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man from Kenosha, Wisconsin, whom police shot seven times in the back last month. Blake’s killing sparked national outrage and has led to weeks of continued protest and demonstrations.
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