These have been difficult but important weeks for our country.
The horrific murder of George Floyd has torn open the deep wounds of persistent institutional racism in America. It has also ignited a burning desire for real change — and ignited an opportunity for us to acknowledge the centuries of oppression, discrimination, and prejudice that has harmed Black American communities.
The fact is that if George Floyd looked like me, he’d still be alive today, and that is sickening and wrong.
Yes, we need justice. And yes, we need accountability. But if we end there, we'll be right back where we started not long from now. We need to change the broken system that allowed this to happen in the first place. We need to channel our anger and outrage into action and change.
I wanted to let you know that this week, guided by the work of the Congressional Black Caucus, I cosponsored an important and transformative bill to fight police brutality and racial injustice in America called the Justice in Policing Act.
The Justice in Policing Act of 2020:
- Bans chokeholds at the federal level and conditions law enforcement funding for state and local governments banning chokeholds.
- Works to end racial and religious profiling by mandating training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling for all law enforcement.
- Limits the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement.
- Makes it easier to prosecute offending officers by amending the federal criminal statute to prosecute police misconduct.
- Improves the use of pattern and practice investigations at the federal level by granting the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division subpoena power and creates a grant program for state attorneys general to develop authority to conduct independent investigations into problematic police departments.
- Reinvests in our communities by supporting critical community-based programs to change the culture of law enforcement and empower our communities to reimagine public safety in an equitable and just way.
- Creates a nationwide police misconduct registry to prevent problematic officers who are fired or leave one agency, from moving to another jurisdiction without any accountability.
- Requires the Attorney General to collect data on investigatory actions and detentions by federal law enforcement agencies; the racial distribution of drug charges; the use of deadly force by and against law enforcement officers; as well as traffic and pedestrian stops and detentions.
When the Justice in Policing Act comes to the floor later this month, I want you to know that I will support it and I will cast a yes vote in honor of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, and every other American who has lost their life due to implicit biases in our criminal justice system.
And while this is a good start, I know there is so much more work to be done to create the kind of change needed for America to live up to our promises. From fighting for environmental justice to investing in underserved schools, businesses, and communities, we must keep working to ensure that everyone has a fair shot, no matter their race, creed, color, or ethnicity.
As always, if you have additional questions, I want you to know that my office is here to help you in whatever way we can. You can find contact information for all my offices by clicking here, or you can email me by clicking here.
Stay safe and stay healthy.