US congresswoman welcomes passage of George Floyd Justice in Policing ActSaturday, March 06, 2021
WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) — Caribbean American Democratic Congresswoman Yvette Clarke has welcomed the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in the United States House of Representatives.
“This bold, transformative legislation will reimagine the culture of policing in America with unprecedented reforms to curb police brutality, end racial profiling, eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement, and build greater trust between law enforcement and our communities,” Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) on Friday about HR 1280, or the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
“The murder of George Floyd was not just an inflection point; it was a tipping point,” added the congresswoman, who represents the predominantly Caribbean 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York. “It brought into focus a truth about policing and our broken legal system: Black and Brown Americans have endured generations of state sanctioned systemic racism, racial profiling and police brutality.
“As New Yorkers, we are all too familiar with this most fundamental and painful truth, we have all witnessed how our country has turned a blind eye to law enforcement officers who have intimidated, abused, tortured and killed unarmed Black and Brown people,” Clarke continued. “The global, multi-racial, multi-ethnic and inter-generational outrage, coupled with the activism of the Black Lives Matter movement, has moved us all to action in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.”
“Last summer, George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, begged for his life. His final words were ‘I can’t breathe,” the congresswoman said. “Despite his desperation, Derek Chauvin (white police officer) stared at us with his hand in his pocket and his knee cutting off George Floyd airways, believed that he could get away with this evil deed, and there was no price to be paid for taking a Black man’s life, that he would face neither criminal penalty nor civil liability.”
Clarke said “this brazen act changed the course of history” in America, stating that the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act holds the legal system and police accountable “at a time when transparency and liability are lacking”.
“We’ve witnessed far too many deaths at the hands of law enforcement with little to no recourse,” she said. “This bill must pass. We cannot abide the murder of Black lives any longer. Full stop.”
Clarke said the Act will take “numerous key steps to achieve transformative, structural change to combat the pattern of police brutality and racial injustice”, including banning all chokeholds; banning no-knock warrants in drug cases; ending racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling; eliminating the qualified immunity doctrine that is a barrier to holding police officers accountable for wrongful conduct; and establishing a National Police Misconduct Registry to improve transparency and prevent problematic officers who are fired or leave one agency from moving to another jurisdiction without any accountability.
“George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Rayshard Brooks, Daniel Prude, Atatianna Jefferson, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Stephon Clark, Botham Jean, Philando Castille, Alton Sterling, Andre Hill, Casey Goodson, Jr, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and Breonna Taylor. We speak your names to honour this action,” Clarke said.
“Your lives, like so many other Black and Brown people who proceeded you, mattered,” she added. “Black Lives still, and always will, matter.
“I remain committed to taking action that will eradicate racially motivated police brutality and the extrajudicial execution of Black and Brown people,” the congresswoman continued. “I will not stop until the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act becomes law.”
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