Saturday, September 30, 2023

A Must, Police Reform, Etc.

June 29, 2020 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( While listening to the Republican presentation of its so-called Justice Act, I was disappointed. It was my hope their bill would come close to an acceptable resolution. One of the first things I heard from Senator Tim Scott, the only Black Republican Senator, was a plan for a study of 18 months. Don’t you just love the way Republicans turn such problems over to the only Black person in their group to resolve. In this case, Senator Scott made it clear that Republicans are not racists!

Instead of coming up with real proposed changes on police use of force, no knock warrants, immunity and chokehold language like discourage the use was offered. So much for the choking to death by police of George Floyd and Eric Garner or the death of Breonna Taylor. Their bill leaves a big loophole for having no action against renegade police. They want to document the police conduct and have the Justice Department establish de-escalation guidance. The bill aims to get better collection of data—as if we don’t have enough data to show what the problems are. As Congresswoman Karen Bass says, “We don’t need studies; we need action.”

Unfortunately, it falls far short of anything that could be considered a good start. They’re simply trying to diffuse the situation without any substantive change. In the Black community, we know all too well what studying an issue means.

Senator Lindsey Graham angrily lectured us about what the Obama Administration didn’t do on the issue of police reform during his eight years in office without a word that mentioned all the times the Republicans, as they promised—tried to make him fail. Never mind that President Obama succeeded in a lot of things without help from Republicans, and on the things he succeeded, Republicans are still trying to undo.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell actually said that Senator Scott, to their surprise, told them he had been stopped by the police! Have the Republicans been hiding under a log? Without even knowing what is in the House Democrats Bill, Mitch has already said the Democrats’ bill is “going nowhere.” So much for Republicans’ seriousness about police reform! Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tagged his remarks “disgraceful.” Indeed! We should hear from House Democrats soon. Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, on the other side of the aisle, presented a bill with eight pillars that Civil Rights organizations approve.

Meanwhile, Speaker Pelosi has given us hope on another subject. She has ordered the removal of portraits of Confederate House Speakers from the U.S. Capitol immediately! At least somebody on Capitol Hill recognizes the horrible message sent to Black America having people in a place of honor whose very presence in a statue, a portrait or a name carved somewhere on government property, continues to be a racist act. Along with police brutality, those symbols must go if we’re ever to believe America is serious about equality under the law.

Nancy didn’t ask for yet another study for the removal of portraits. She said remove now and demanded that it be done by the next day! She said further, “As I have said, the halls of Congress are the very heart of our democracy.  There is no room in the hallowed halls of Congress or in any place of honor for memorializing men who embody the violent bigotry and grotesque racism of the Confederacy…. The portraits of these men are symbols that set back our nation’s work to confront and combat bigotry. Our Congressional community has the sacred opportunity and obligation to make meaningful change to ensure that the halls of Congress reflect our highest ideals as Americans. Let us lead by example.”

Written By Dr. E. Faye Williams

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