Tuesday, May 25 is the anniversary of George Floyd’s death. He struggled for his life for 9 minutes and 29 seconds as a police officer thrust a knee against his neck, maintaining the pressure even as he repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe” and bled on the ground. Americans saw what happened with their own eyes—bystanders recorded it on their cell phones—and responded with an outpouring of anger and grief that has fueled a renewed push for racial justice and an end to the police brutality that disproportionately kills African Americans. One in every 1,000 Black men can expect to be killed by police, according to a 2019 study published in a National Academy of Sciences journal.
The House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (H.R. 1280) by a vote of 220-212 in March, but the Senate has yet to act. The bill takes initial steps to end police brutality, protect civil rights and liberties, and change the culture of law enforcement agencies. They include ending racial and religious profiling and no-knock warrants, mandatory de-escalation training for police, prohibiting chokeholds and other potentially fatal maneuvers, and requiring police to use dashboard and body cameras—many of the same steps called for by the Justice for Black Lives document issued by NEA’s executive committee.
Email your senators and ask them to support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.