ICYMI – Congressional Black Caucus Opposes Senate Republicans’ Police Reform Bill, 138 Civil Rights Groups Send Letter Demanding Senators Vote Against The Bill & Say Effort Falls Far Short Of What Is Needed To Protect Black Communities & Hold Police Accountable

June 23, 2020

Washington, D.C.—  Today, the Congressional Black Caucus sent a letter expressing opposition to the Senate Republicans’ Justice Act and calling for the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which meets the historic moment our country faces and will finally answer the police violence plaguing Black communities. Additionally, 138 civil rights groups, led by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, sent a letter to the Senate strongly opposing the Senate Republicans’ bill, calling it an inadequate response to the decades of pain and hardship Black communities continue to endure.  

Congressional Black Caucus: On behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), I write to express our strong desire to advance a policing reform bill that will meet the historic moment we face as a nation and finally answer longstanding demands to put an end to the police violence that has plagued the Black community in time immemorial.

Over the past several weeks, countless Americans, both Black and White, young and old, in cities and towns from coast to coast, have taken to the streets to protest the senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, and many others. In fact, this movement has sparked international attention, with protests in London, Berlin, and Paris, among other cities, and the United Nations debating police brutality and systemic racism in America. The world is watching, and history will judge us all for our answer to the pleas for justice and peace.

Our answer is the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which is the culmination of decades of work by CBC Members, including one of our founders. This transformative bill provides meaningful reforms to prevent tragedy in the first place and deliver justice to the families of victims when all else fails. This includes an end to qualified immunity for law enforcement and racial and ethnic profiling, a federal ban on choke holds and no knock warrants, and a national use of force standard. In addition to a national accreditation system to raise the standard of the policing profession, this bill includes grant funding for community-based organizations to help reimagine what public safety can look like going forward.

Unfortunately, the Justice Act under consideration in the Senate does not include these much-needed reforms and, overall, fails to meet the moment that this movement demands. We agree with your statement, Leader McConnell: The American people deserve more than political posturing. They deserve leadership at the highest levels of government to take a stand to end racial injustice in policing.” [Letter to Senators McConnell and Schumer, 6/23/20]

Letter from 138 Civil Rights Groups: On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (The Leadership Conference), a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect civil and human rights in the United States, and the undersigned 138 organizations, we write to express our strong opposition to S. 3985, the Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere (JUSTICE) Act. The JUSTICE Act is an inadequate response to the decades of pain, hardship, and devastation that Black people have and continue to endure as a result of systemic racism and lax policies that fail to hold police accountable for misconduct. This bill falls woefully short of the comprehensive reform needed to address the current policing crisis and achieve meaningful law enforcement accountability. It is deeply problematic to meet this moment with a menial incremental approach that offers more funding to police, and few policies to effectively address the constant loss of Black lives at the hands of police. We therefore urge you to oppose the JUSTICE Act and vote no on the motion to proceed when this legislation is brought to the floor. [Letter to Senators, 6/23/20