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Civil Rights leaders react to Justice in Policing Act

NAACP, Urban League and National Action Network, among others

OW Staff Writer | 6/11/2020, midnight

A number of civil rights organizations have responded to the proposed Justice in Policing Act. The following represents a portion of their statements:

“This nation is facing another crisis of police killing Black people. While these killings underscore how much systemic racism endures in our nation, this moment has been met with a movement of people across the country demanding transformative change. Our organizations, along with national and local partners, have long worked for robust reforms and police accountability, and Congress is now taking action.

“We support Congress taking an important step toward police accountability by introducing the Justice in Policing Act. In the aftermath of the recent police killings of Black people, we sent Congress a strong police accountability framework that is reflected in this legislation. The bill takes on critical issues such as redefining police misconduct, establishing a national use of force standard, increasing the U.S. Department of Justice’s authority to prosecute misconduct by law enforcement officers, and more.

“This legislation makes clear that police brutality, misconduct, harassment, and killing have no place in America. Many provisions in the bill reflect the insights of national and local civil rights organizations that have worked for years on these issues. As the bill advances toward passage, we will continue to work to improve it to ensure that real and meaningful change is achieved.

“We express appreciation to Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, Congressional Black Caucus Chair Bass, Chairman Nadler, and Senators Booker and Harris, for their leadership to quickly and substantively meet this moment and address this pressing issue. If Congress truly represents the will of the people, they must take action swiftly to ensure equality and justice for all.”

The following leaders signed the statement:

—Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Convener, Black Women’s Roundtable

—Kristen Clarke, president and executive director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

—Vanita Gupta, president and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

—Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

—Derrick Johnson, president and CEO, NAACP

—Marc H. Morial, president and CEO, National Urban League

—Reverend Al Sharpton, president and founder, National Action Network