In light of the current Black Lives Matter protests that were sparked following the death of George Floyd, Democrats have acknowledged the extreme human rights issue that we have in this country. On Monday, the new bill named, The Justice in Policing Act of 2020, was introduced by House and Senate Democrats: Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Jim Clyburn, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.
Before the new bill was unveiled the cohort of democrats, seen wearing kente cloths and black in solidarity for the movement, took a knee in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. This specific amount of time is symbolizes how long George Floyd was pinned down and asphyxiated by a white police officer before he died.
The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 package would make it easier to hold police officers accountable for violating civil rights, however fails to propose a solution to withhold federal funds from local police who do not make reforms. The bill would require officers to use body and dashboard cameras at all times, ban the use of chokeholds and “no-knock warrants,” and introduce a “national police misconduct registry” used for tracking police misconduct. While these are helpful developments, the bill failed to acknowledge many leading activists pleas to defund the police and allocate funds to local community and social servicing programs.
“This is a first step. There is more to come,”said Pelosi. “Once the House passes the Justice and Policing Act [Senate majority leader Mitch] McConnell will, hopefully, take it up. During the Congress, the president must not stand in the way of justice, the Congress and the country will not relent until this legislation is made into law.”
The President weighed in on Twitter by saying, “LAW & ORDER, NOT DEFUND AND ABOLISH THE POLICE. The Radical Left Democrats have gone Crazy!”
It is encouraging to see what change can come from standing together for what is right throughout these protests. While this new bill is a step in the right direction, there are many changes that still need to be implemented in our broken system to ensure the safety of Black lives.