JUNE 10TH: House Judiciary Committee to Hold Hearing on Police Brutality & Racial Profiling
Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. ET, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to examine the crisis of racial profiling, police brutality and lost trust between police departments and the communities they serve. Witnesses to be announced.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) released the following statement:
“There are now protests taking place in every state as people take a stand against police brutality and racism. People are rightfully upset, they are frustrated, and they want to be heard. They want real change, not meaningless words. I want Americans to know that I hear them, and I see them. The House Judiciary Committee is working very closely with the Congressional Black Caucus to determine the best path forward to address police brutality and racial inequality. Yesterday, we held a listening session to hear recommendations from the CEOs of national advocacy organizations. Next week, we will hold a hearing to hear from community leaders, advocates, academics and law enforcement. We are reviewing legislative proposals and will consider legislation in the coming weeks.”
Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Congressional Black Caucus Chair and House Judiciary Crime Subcommittee Chair released the following statement:
“Our nation needs Congress to act. This is our moral moment – we must look at legislation to address laws that shield police officers from ever being accountable. We must address the structural conflicts of interest. We must create a database so that abusive law enforcement officers lose the privilege of being an officers anywhere, not just in a given precinct. For years, we have introduced legislation addressing police brutality. This hearing is our next step in implementing change to our system. ”
Time: 10:00 a.m. ET
Location: Congressional Auditorium
Livestream: The hearing will stream live here.
NOTE: The Committee on the Judiciary is following guidelines developed in consultation with the Office of the Attending Physician (OAP) and the House Sergeant at Arms. The OAP recommends all individuals maintain 6-foot social distance spacing as much as practicable when in the Capitol Complex. Additionally, on the advice of the OAP, the use of a face covering is recommended for all attendees of this proceeding. The general public will not be allowed to attend the hearing in person, however, the hearing will be streamed live.
On June 2, 2020, Chair Bass and Chairman Nadler convened a briefing with national advocacy organizations for House Judiciary Committee Democratic Members and congressional staff. There were representatives from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, National Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Urban League, Obama Administration U.S. Department of Justice COPS Office, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and the Center for Policing Equity. Nearly 100 participants, including Members of Congress, staff, and advocates, joined the virtual briefing.
On May 28, 2020, all House Judiciary Democrats sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice to demand they investigate the prosecutors involved in the case of Ahmaud Arbery and open investigations into the police departments involved with the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. The letter is available here.
Federal law prohibits any governmental authority from engaging in a “pattern or practice” of conduct by law enforcement officers that deprives persons of their constitutional rights. This federal statute also authorizes the Attorney General to initiate a civil action to obtain appropriate equitable or declaratory relief to eliminate such a pattern or practice.
In the wake of high-profile applications of fatal force by police against unarmed African American men in Ferguson, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Chicago, the Justice Department investigated policing practices in those cities and uncovered rampant abuses of constitutional rights and civil liberties. During the Obama Administration, the Justice Department negotiated consent decree agreements with the police departments in all four cities. Following President Trump’s election and his appointment of Jefferson B. Sessions as Attorney General, the Justice Department abruptly changed its interpretation of its statutory role to eliminate patterns and practices of unconstitutional conduct in local police departments.
In May 2019, Chairman Nadler, Chair Bass and several House Judiciary Committee Democrats sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice seeking information about actions it was taking to reduce police-involved violence, including its use of consent decrees and pattern and practice investigations. To date, there has been no substantive response. On September 19, 2019, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing to address unconstitutional conduct by state and local law enforcement officials.