Vice President Kamala Harris on Sunday advocated for the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act, something she believes is the second half of the puzzle to addressing police reform in the U.S. The first half, in Harris’ eyes, was former Minneapolis police officer Derrick Chauvin being convicted of George Floyd’s murder.
“Nine minutes and 29 seconds, right? We all watched that video,” she explained. “Many of us watched it multiple times. People are in pain over what we all saw in that video.”
The George Floyd Justice In Policing Act, which is currently making its way through Congress, was brought about when Harris and her then-colleagues, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Karren Bass (D-CA) came together to address the issues they saw with policing in America. According to Harris, her hope is the Senate will have the “courage” to pass the legislation.
“There is no question that we’ve got to put an end to these moments where the public questions whether there’s going to be accountability, questions whether there’s going to be a kind of fairness that we should all expect and deserve in all of our lives and, in particular, as it relates to people of color, the particular emphasis on black and brown men in the criminal justice system as it relates to policing,” the vice president explained.
Although some are happy with Chauvin being found guilty of Floyd’s murder, Harris said that won’t change the overall system.
“This verdict is but a piece of it and it will not heal the pain that existed for generations – that has existed for generations – among people who have experienced and first-hand witnessed what now a broader public opinion is seeing because of smartphones and the ubiquity of our ability to video tape in real-time what is happening in front of our faces,” she said. “And that’s just the reality of it.
Vice President Kamala Harris on the Chauvin trial and police accountability: “This verdict is but a piece of it. And it will not heal the pain that existed for generations.” #CNNSOTU https://t.co/1Tz4ATtPww pic.twitter.com/UBgEq08OKp
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) April 25, 2021
The George Floyd Policing in America Act previously passed in the House of Representatives. It is currently being discussed in the Senate, where Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) is working with Democrats on the bill’s language. One area of focus is on ending qualified immunity, which protects law enforcement officers from being sued for misconduct. According to NPR, Bass and Scott are also discussing how to address no-knock warrants, whether or not to ban chokeholds, and establishing a database of officers’ misconduct.
Harris has previously branded herself as a “progressive prosecutor,” someone who is tough on crime but is also in favor of revamping the criminal justice system. It’s a label even The New York Times called into question based on her questionable past as San Francisco District Attorney and her attempts to play both sides, those who are in favor of law enforcement and those who see major flaws.
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