Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) made it official last week: negotiations with Republican colleagues over a Senate version of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (H.R. 1280) have broken down. Booker, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), and Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) had been leading the bipartisan, months-long effort to reach agreement on the bill since spring, when a jury found police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering Floyd. Disheartening as it is for yet another House-passed bill to flounder due to lack of support in the Senate, this is no time to give up. We can’t wait for more people to die for much-needed reforms to happen.
Going to school or returning home from an after-school job or visiting friends should not put students’ lives at risk. But sadly, in communities of color, this is the reality. A 2019 study published in a National Academy of Sciences journal found that 1 in every 1,000 Black men can expect to be killed by police.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act takes initial steps to end police brutality, protect civil rights and liberties, and change the culture of law enforcement agencies. These steps 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. Justice for Black Lives, issued by NEA’s executive committee earlier this year, calls for many of the same steps. Urge the Senate to go back to the negotiating table.
Email your senators and ask them to support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.