WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) has joined top Congressional Democrats in unveiling the Justice in Policing Act, historic legislation that will address police brutality with a number of reforms, including a national use of force standard and independent investigations into police misconduct. Harris stressed the importance of holding police accountable and ensuring consequences for misconduct, as well as investing in Black communities. While progress has been made, just last week Harris’ anti-lynching legislation was blocked in the Senate.
Key excerpts of Harris’ stance follow:
- “We’re here because Black Americans want to stop being killed,” said Harris. “Just last week, we couldn’t even pass an anti-lynching bill in the United States Senate. So, when we look at where we are now with this piece of legislation, we have to understand. Yes, as a country, we’ve seen great progress. But just last week in the year of our Lord 2020, we could not get an anti-lynching bill passed in the United States Senate.
- “Let’s be clear, reforming policing is in the best interest of all Americans. It is literally in the best interest of all Americans, because this is a basic matter of fairness and as so many have said, justice.
- “Part of what has been upside down in policing policy in America is that we have confused having safe communities with hiring more cops on the street, as though that is the way to achieve safe communities, when in fact, the real way to achieve safe and healthy communities is to invest in those communities- in affordable housing, in the ability for home ownership, jobs, funding our public schools, giving people access to capital so they can go grow those small businesses that are part of the leadership and the health of these communities.
- Ours is a bill that addresses a very specific matter under a larger umbrella of all that must be addressed. When we talk about the need for safety and safe and healthy communities in America, this specifically is a bill about accountability and consequence for bad behaviors by those who have been invested by society, and the people, with the ability to wear a badge and carry a gun.