Our country is plagued by systemic racism. The roots of this racism go back to the shameful days of slavery, and long after emancipation people of color continue to be deliberately denied their constitutional rights. Equal opportunity has never been the reality in the United States, nor has our nation ever lived up to its promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That has only been available to white men. And this is unacceptable.
Police brutality toward people of color is one of the many ways in which this reality manifests itself in our country. This has gone on throughout our history, and must stop. Too many lives have been lost and dramatically altered by violence perpetrated by those tasked with protecting us all. I want to make clear that I know that racist cops are in the vast minority. But there should not be any, and until we can guarantee that, we must change the way police operate in this country to eliminate these acts of violence that terrorize people of color.
I have five children. Four are white and one is black. As a parent, my first priority is keeping them safe. I don’t want to live in a country where one of my children – or any child – is treated differently than the others because of the color of their skin.
We need real leadership on this issue in this country. Leadership like that of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta, who took immediate action to deal with rogue cops and reduce tensions in her city.
If I had a say in the matter of the senseless murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, I would expedite the trial of racist cop Derek Chauvin. And I would immediately arrest the other three officers at the scene for probable cause.
If elected to Congress, I will propose the following legislation at the federal level to put an end to this stain on America:
- That hate crimes legislation be used when prosecuting officers who target people of color in such a way that results in a denial of their rights or physical harm to their bodies.
- That all jurisdictions put tighter restrictions on how and when they can use force.
- That all police officers are taught through extensive training how to recognize and nonviolently deal with cases of mental illness.
- Require that strict standards of “reasonable” and “necessary” be met prior to the use of physical force.
- Require deescalation prior to the use of force, and provide all officers with more extensive deescalation training.
- Institute a national ‘3 strikes and you’re out’ rule for police officers. The officer who murdered George Floyd had EIGHTEEN complaints filed against him, and somehow he was still on duty. This rule would require a police department to remove any officer with three or more complaints from active duty until an independent group verifies and evaluates the complaints.
- That military equipment no longer be offloaded from the Pentagon on to police forces.