Senator Cory Booker explained to "Face the Nation" just why talks fell apart and the road ahead to meaningful change in policing.
Sunday, October 03, 2021
Sunday, September 26, 2021
California Congresswoman Karen Bass authored the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, and was one of the lead Democratic negotiators for the bill. She joins MSNBC's Jonathan Capehart to discuss the future of police reform as Congress remains unable to secure a deal to pass the legislation.
Saturday, June 12, 2021
Statement from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder:
One year ago, George Floyd was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis. Working people throughout America—from large urban cities to small rural towns—protested peacefully, marched down streets and declared three words: Black Lives Matter. Today, we continue to demand action to root out systemic racism in all forms. On the anniversary of his murder, the labor movement joins our allies in calling on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. This bill is not only a legislative priority, it’s our nation’s moral obligation. Elected leaders should work together with all stakeholders, including America’s unions, to finally make police reform a reality.
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
National Basketball Social Justice Coalition statement in support of George Floyd Justice in Policing Act
On behalf of the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition, James Cadogan, the Coalition’s Executive Director, released the following statement:
“Almost exactly one year ago, George Floyd was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis. Like millions around the world, NBA players, coaches, governors, officials, and staff throughout our organizations were outraged to see the horrifying and unlawful actions of the officer who pinned Mr. Floyd’s neck to the ground under his knee for 9 minutes. Mr. Floyd’s death added new fuel to the protests, marches, and urgent calls for racial justice and reform locally and nationally.
“Today, as this painful anniversary approaches, we have an opportunity to honor the memory of Mr. Floyd and others who have been victims of police brutality in this country by passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Systemic problems demand systemic solutions. And, because police actions are governed by a diverse array of state laws and local policies, the Floyd Act takes unprecedented strides towards consistency—reforming at a federal level the practices that failed its namesake.
“The bill already passed with a bipartisan vote in the U.S. House of Representatives and is now pending in the Senate where we hope it will have similar bipartisan support as it should and must. As Board Members of the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition, representing the NBA, the Players Association, the Coaches Association, league staff, and teams in every region of the country, we are calling on our elected representatives of both parties to work together to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in the U.S. Senate now and present it to President Biden for him to sign into law this year.
“As members of the NBA family, we will continue to use our influence to support common-sense policy reform in our communities across the nation so that equal justice is afforded to all.”
National Basketball Social Justice CoalitionCarmelo Anthony (Portland Trail Blazers)
Avery Bradley (Houston Rockets)
Sterling Brown (Houston Rockets)
Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz)
Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Micky Arison (Miami Heat Managing General Partner)
Steve Ballmer (L.A. Clippers Chairman)
Clay Bennett (Oklahoma City Thunder Chairman)
Marc Lasry (Milwaukee Bucks Governor)
Vivek Ranadivé (Sacramento Kings Governor & Chairman)
Coach Lloyd Pierce
Coach Doc Rivers (Philadelphia 76ers)
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver
NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts
NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum
Sunday, May 23, 2021
Sen. Cory Booker (R-N.J.) on Sunday said lawmakers are “making meaningful progress” in police reform negotiations, adding that he remains focused on eliminating qualified immunity.
Democratic Sen. Cory Booker says qualified immunity needs to be changed "at some point" when discussing police reform negotiations and adds that it's a point that's getting pushback from the other side. "We're working very hard to see if we can bridge this wide gulf." #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/prqCXSCDsf— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) May 23, 2021
Saturday, May 22, 2021
“For far too long, police officers in this country have been able to evade accountability for the unjustified use of excessive and lethal force,” said Attorney General James. “In New York, our laws have essentially given police blanket defense to use force in interactions with the public, making it exceedingly difficult for prosecutors to go after officers who have abused this power. Not only is that gravely unjust, but it has also proven to be incredibly dangerous. The Police Accountability Act will make critical and necessary changes to the law, providing clear and legitimate standards for when the use of force is acceptable and enacting real consequences for when an officer crosses that line. While this is an important step in addressing the shortfalls of our criminal justice system, it is not a cure all for the ills that have impacted too many families and claimed too many lives. We must continue to do everything in our power to protect our communities and ensure that no one is beyond the reach of justice.”
Overview of the Police Accountability Act
The Police Accountability Act (S.6615) includes a series of reforms aimed at improving protocols and strengthening accountability measures when police officers use force, especially lethal force. These legislative reforms are intended to reduce deaths at the hands of police by ensuring that police officers adhere to practices and tactics that aim to preserve life and only use lethal force as a last resort, while providing prosecutors with appropriate tools to potentially hold officers accountable when an individual dies after an interaction with police.
1) Use of Force Must Be A Last Resort
Current law: New York’s current law does not require officers to exhaust other options, such as de-escalation, verbal warnings, or lower level uses of force, before using force, including lethal force.
Police Accountability Act reform: The Police Accountability Act seeks to amend this law by establishing a “last resort” standard, whereby use of force must be a last resort that officers can only employ when there are no reasonable alternatives to avoiding force or reducing the force used. Officers must instead exhaust alternatives, including de-escalation, lower levels of force, verbal warnings, and other methods.
2) Simple Suspicion of Criminal Conduct Cannot Justify Lethal Force
Current law: New York’s current use of force law authorizes police to use lethal force based simply on an officer’s reasonable belief that an individual committed a particular crime — a certain category of felony or attempt to commit a felony — and irrespective of whether the individual presents a danger to the officer or another person at the time.
Police Accountability Act reform: The Police Accountability Act seeks to eliminate justification for lethal force when an officer simply suspects an individual has engaged in particular criminal conduct. Lethal force should only be used in the most exigent of circumstances and demands higher standards of proof before an officer may use lethal force.
3) Allow Prosecutors to Evaluate if Police Conduct Led to Need for Use of Force
Current law: New York’s current law justifying police use of force does not provide a mechanism for prosecutors to consider an officer’s own responsibility for creating the need for force in the first place.Police Accountability Act reform: The Police Accountability Act seeks to explicitly allow prosecutors to consider whether an officer’s conduct created a substantial and unjustifiable risk that force would become necessary. Where that is the case, an officer may not avail themselves of the justification defense.
) Establish Standards and Criminal Penalties to Prevent Excessive Use of Police Force
The Police Accountability Act — sponsored by State Senator Kevin Parker in the Senate and to be sponsored by Assemblymember N. Nick Perry in the Assembly — seeks to establish criminal penalties for police officers who employ force that is grossly in excess of what is warranted under the circumstances and where that force causes physical injury or death. The level of charge would depend on the severity of the injuries caused.
“Our legal system makes it far too difficult to achieve fairness where police violence is concerned,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “This legislative proposal will provide the tools necessary to hold wrongdoers accountable and move us closer to justice. I thank Attorney General James for her efforts on this important issue and look forward to working with her to get it done.”
“Currently, the ‘excessive use of force’ is a term of poetry in the state of New York. This important legislation corrects that and defines it in the law,” said State Senator Kevin Parker. “This creates a reasonable expectation for law enforcement as well as the people of our great state. Thank you to the attorney general for your leadership on this important issue.”
“The use of excessive force by police officers has not only taken loved ones and family members, but is also a continuous scourge for our communities,” said State Senator Jamaal Bailey. “The Police Accountability Act will make it clearly understood that the state of New York will not tolerate individuals in law enforcement who deviate from the mission of protecting and serving and instead attempt to incorrectly take justice into their own hands. To minimize the occurrences of unjustified uses of force, accountability and consequences are necessary. Establishing explicit standards and expectations for officers, coupled with criminal penalties, will create a system where justice is equitable and responsibility can be had. Techniques such as de-escalation are proven to work and should be emphasized as being necessary and commonly used tools, and in many occurrences can be substituted for the use of force. The Police Accountability Act is a landmark set of reforms that will work to answer the shortcomings in our current criminal justice system and work to protect many communities. I would like to thank New York Attorney General Letitia James for her dedication and continuous work of ensuring that justice is fair and even-handed for all New Yorkers.”
“Today, we answer the call of the people of New York state who have spoken up loudly and clearly,” said Assemblymember Nick Perry. “I am proud to sponsor the Police Accountability Act in the New York Assembly to reform police use of force laws in New York state. I do so on behalf of all those men and women who were taken from their families and loved ones far too soon because police used unjustified and excessive force. The shoot first mentality must end, whether you are wearing a badge or not. This act will save lives, and make the use of deadly force, an absolute last resort.”
“Misconduct and abuse of power has become culturally engrained within our police forces, and we must work together to bring it to an end,” said Assemblymember Catalina Cruz. “The unjustified and excessive use of force, as well as the lack of accountability, are destroying the relationship between the police and the communities they have been tasked to serve. These critical initiatives will begin to change that. I want to thank the attorney general for her bold and forward-facing leadership, and I am proud to stand in support and as an ally in the fight to strengthen and protect our communities.”
“There is no question that our criminal justice system is in need of drastic reform,” said Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner. “For far too long, police officers have gotten away with putting people’s lives in danger without facing consequence of any kind. Not only is that unjust, but it’s deeply painful for those of us who have lost family members to police violence. I commend Attorney General James for taking this bold and necessary action to reform New York’s laws and ensure that we have more tools available to hold officers accountable who use unnecessary deadly force.”
Sunday, April 18, 2021
Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) on Sunday said she is “hopeful” that Congress will come together to pass police reform in the wake of two recent fatal police shootings of people of color.
Rep. Karen Bass on police reform: "All communities deserve to be protected and served by law enforcement and you shouldn't have law enforcement that protects and serves one community and acts as though they're in a war zone in another community ... that's what we have." #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/KTsmzXLdkz— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) April 18, 2021
Sunday, August 30, 2020
The Congressional Black Caucus Calls on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to Hold an Immediate Vote on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act
Monday, June 29, 2020
By George L. Cook III AfricanAmericanReports.Com
Now we know why CNN's Van Jones praised President Trumps weak executive order so much.
In a report from The Daily Beast it appears that Jones actually helped to craft the order.
I remember listening to CNN when the news of Trump signing the executive order broke and thinking to myself that Jones was going all out to praise this order. I thought at the time he was going a little over board.
Van Jones called President Trump's executive order on police reform "a good thing" and a "a step in the right direction" following a White House signing ceremony on Tuesday.
"The executive order is a good thing," Jones said on "Inside Politics." "Mainly because you saw the support of law enforcement there. That gives you a sense of where the bottom is, where the floor is for reform, and that floor is higher than it has been."
Now let’s be clear there is nothing wrong with working with Trump’s people on an executive order that you think may help African Americans survive police encounters. God bless Van Jones for that. I understand the whole if your not at the table you’re on the menu concept.
There is nothing wrong praising and supporting the order on CNN.
But there is something wrong with not divulging to the audience watching that you worked on the order you are praising so much.
The viewers had a right to know. That information not being divulged shows a lack of journalistic integrity.
We have to wonder if Van Jones told or didn’t tell CNN he worked on the order, and if he did why did CNN decide to put him on air without acknowledging that fact
Someone has some explaining to do...
Thursday, June 25, 2020
The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, & George Floyd have brought racism and police reform to the forefront.
Many of us have marched and protested, but what’s next?
Many of you have rightfully asked what those with the power to make or change laws are doing to address police reform.
Here are some answers from one of our state legislators, Assemblyman Jamel C. Holley about police reforms and social justice.
Monday, June 22, 2020
On June 16th, President Trump announced an Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities in response to national calls for law enforcement reform. The President’s Executive Order falls woefully short of the long overdue demands for accountability and transparency in our police departments. During the announcement today, the President claimed the Executive Order would set standards "as high and as strong as there is on Earth" on the use of force, and that he would prioritize federal grants to police departments that met those standards, yet this order excludes a ban on chokeholds, which killed Eric Gardner and George Floyd.
Last Monday, the House and Senate Democrats led by the Congressional Black Caucus unveiled the Justice in Policing Act, renamed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. This bill is the first-ever bold, comprehensive approach to hold police accountable, change the culture of law enforcement and build trust between law enforcement and our communities.
The Justice in Policing Act is calling for real reform including banning chokeholds, banning the no knock warrant, limiting the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement, requiring body cameras, reinvesting in our communities by supporting critical community-based programs to change the culture of law enforcement and empowering our communities, makes lynching a federal crime, and 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 and much more. These are just some of the provisions of the new bill.
For perspective, if the Justice in Policing Act had been law last year Breonna Taylor would not have been shot to death in her sleep because no-knock warrants for drug offenses would have been illegal. This May, Tamir Rice would have graduated from High School because the officer who killed him would not have been working as a police officer because he was previously listed in the national registry for misconduct. President Trump’s Executive Order calls for none of this. We need proactive solutions such as the Justice in Policing Act and not timid responses to a national crisis.
President Trump continues to dismiss the needs of Black America and the importance of effectively dismantling institutions of systemic racism. To him, it doesn't exist. COVID-19 continues to severely impact Black America and when the CBC demanded for the racial data on coronavirus cases, the Trump Administration refused to release the comprehensive data. He chose Tulsa, Oklahoma, the city where the worst act of racial violence was committed when Black Wall Street was burned down by white supremacists, as the location to kick off his re-election campaign rally. Black Wall Street in Tulsa was a thriving and established Black community that consisted of Black owned businesses and over 1,200 homes occupied by Black families. The rally was also originally scheduled for Juneteenth - the day African Americans celebrate emancipation. President Trump only decided to change the date of his rally to the 20th after extensive backlash.
At a time when communities across the world are joining the American people in solidarity to call for change, President Trump has opted for fake reforms that will not change anything. America needs the Justice in Policing Act because it calls for real reform and will ensure police officers are held accountable. It also provides an opportunity to re-imagine what just and equitable policing looks like and begin the process of rebuilding.
Thursday, June 18, 2020
Rep. Cedric Richmond(D-LA) called out his Republican colleagues for trying to water down proposed police reform legislation which lead to an argument with Republican, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FLA) that got very heated. Watch their exchange below.
Monday, November 16, 2015
On 11/16/2015 a "State House Rally for Justice" was held outside the NJ Capitol building by the NJ Clergy Coalition for Justice. Inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter movement the rally was just not a protest but presented state legislators with three items for legislation to aid in police reform.
1.Legislation that mandates body cameras for all officers in New Jersey.
2. Legislation that calls for an independent prosecutor when an officer is charged with shooting and killing someone.
3. Proper education and training for law enforcement to manage implicit biases.
Watch NJ State Legislators such as Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker and NJ State Senators Nia Gill, Ron Rice, and Ray Lesniak address these issues at the rally below. *Former Speaker of the House and Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver and NJ Senator Peter Barnes were also present but a certain person's iPhone ran out of storage, sorry.
NJ Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker.NJ State Senator Ray Lesniak.
NJ State Senator Nia Gill
NJ State Senator Ron Rice