Press Releases

Chairman Nadler Remarks At Press Conference Ahead of House Vote on George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Washington, June 25, 2020

Washington, D.C. –Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) joined Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass and House Democrats at a press conference ahead of the House vote on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020. The legislation includes bold, unprecedented reforms to curb police brutality, end racial profiling and eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement.

New endorsements for the bill include leading corporations, law enforcement, major city mayors such as the Mayor of Houston and the Mayor of Los Angeles and celebrities such as Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Mary J. Blige, Lizzo, Meek Mill, Kelly Rowland, Justin Bieber, Miguel, Billie Eilish, Alyssa Milano and Ariana Grande, among others. Leading civil rights and social justice groups such as the NAACP, National Action Network, Urban League and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights were early supporters of the bill.

Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (D-CA), Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 on June 8, 2020.The legislation has 231 cosponsors in the House and 36 cosponsors in the Senate. The full list of supporters can be found here.

Below are Chairman Nadler's full remarks, as prepared:

"I want to begin by thanking Karen Bass for all of her work in assembling the historic legislation we will be voting on later today. She is not just a distinguished leader of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Judiciary Committee’s Crime Subcommittee, she is also a talented legislator, who has crafted a bill that truly meets the moment, and I deeply appreciate her leadership on this bill.

"I know that she has been fighting for just and equitable policing for decades. It is a sad reality that those of us who have been part of this effort alongside her have spent far too many years pushing for meaningful change.

"More than 20 years ago, I marched with Reverend Sharpton after Amadou Diallo was gunned down with 41 shots by New York City police officers after reaching for his wallet. 15 years ago, officers unleashed 50 bullets, killing Sean Bell the night before his wedding day. I met with his family, and I felt their pain and anger at a system that seemed to have so little regard for black lives. I heard their frustration that, despite overwhelming evidence that dramatic reform was needed, Congress had ignored the pleas of African Americans crying out for change.

"Today I join with millions of Americans across this country in saying 'Enough is enough!' Today, I am proud to join my colleagues in delivering on the promise that so many of us have made—that change is on the way.

"Today we will pass legislation that will reimagine policing for the 21st Century and will hold officers who commit misconduct accountable for their actions.

"The House, under Democratic leadership, led by Speaker Pelosi, will do its job today. But that is not the end of the story. The Senate must take up this legislation and send it to the President’s desk without delay.

"This is not the time for half measures. This is not the time for further study. This is not the time for fake reform. If our Republican colleagues truly want to pass bold comprehensive legislation that will change the culture of policing and hold officers accountable, we welcome them to the table. But we will not accept—and the protesters whose energy has propelled a worldwide movement—will not accept anything less.

"What we have seen so far is a bit of a shell game. Democrats have been advocating many of the proposals contained in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act for years, only to be ignored when the House was under Republican leadership. Now that public opinion is clearly on our side, they say that they support many of its provisions, but they still can’t support the bill. Instead they will support something that looks like reform, but when you really study it, you see that it is mostly empty promises.

"If they really want reform, they will support this legislation. If they stay on the sidelines, yet again, the American public will see who really stands with them."