On Tuesday, several U.S. Senators came together to address the national scourge of police brutality, and introduce a package of bills to address it. They all spoke passionately, and unsurprisingly, Senator Kamala Harris spoke with clarity and searing urgency about the need for the U.S. Congress to stand up and do its part.
Sen. Harris recalled how her parents were marchers in the Civil Rights movement of their generation. Then, like now, police turned against them, yet they still marched. She credited them for laying out the path for her. Tragically, the same scourge, the same injustices are happening today with little to no sign of abating.
As a former prosecutor, a profession I chose because I also, growing up the way I did, knew how law enforcement had a long history of enforcing laws indiscriminately, and often based on race and racism. That's why I chose to become a prosecutor, and I can say with full certainty that it is time that the leaders in this United State Senate, in this United States Congress take action to reform a criminal justice system that for far too long has been informed by systemic racism and by racial bias. It is time that we say that bad cops are bad for good cops. It is time that we say that one should not be subjected to the indignity of being told to get on your knees and put your hands behind your head simply because you are walking while Black. And it happens every day in America.
There is not a black man I know...who has not been the subject of some form of racial discrimination at the hands of law enforcement, not one I know....and the only thing that is common among them is that the color of their skin is Black. That's why the people are marching in the streets.
And the reality is that racism in America is bad for everyone. Racism is bad for everyone. Racism against Black folks and Latinos and Asians and our Native brothers and sisters, it's bad for EVERYONE. So this is a moment in time where we have to address this.
And we have to address it sadly in the context of a pandemic that has also laid bare longstanding disparities in our public health system, in our education system, in our economy. based on race. This is happening at a moment in time when we have a so-called Commander-in-Chief who also has the title of President of the United States, who I promise you will NEVER speak the words "Black Lives Matter."
Well, they do. So, this is a moment in time when this co-equal branch of government has a responsibility to stand for the principles of those words that are etched on that marble building across the street, "Equal Justice Under Law."
Package of bills being pulled together to address issue of policing. One would end "qualified immunity" for police officers, and another would establish a national standard for use of force by police officers.
Senator Harris, like tens of thousands of protesters in now every single state in the United States, are fed up with this "pervasive issue," 30 years after Rodney King. Two generations after her parents' civil rights struggles. The same issues. Why has nothing has changed? In her words, systemic racism in the form of police brutality is an issue "that has too long plagued us, and that we have the power to address."