Congressional Black Caucus demands response from DOJ on police accountability

Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.)
Greg Nash
Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.) is seen as the House votes to adjourn on the second day of the 118th session of Congress on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. The House held three more ballots for Speaker, with neither Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) or Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) getting enough votes.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) on Thursday announced they have sent a letter to the Department of Justice demanding data around the status of President Biden’s 2022 executive order on police accountability. 

The executive order, Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety, called for establishing a national law enforcement accountability database to track officer misconduct, as well as creating guidance and practices to address mental health crises and improving safety conditions in prisons and jails. 

“Some of these provisions should have been completed by now,” said. Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), chairman of the caucus. “Tyre Nichols and other lives depend on it.”

Horsford said Attorney General Merrick Garland has received the letter and indicated he will be responding to the CBC.

The caucus’s announcement came during a press conference listing the group’s successes of the 117th Congress and its goals for the 118th, which include housing and job opportunities. 

But one of the biggest priorities of the CBC this session will be public safety reform, Horsford said, specifically in areas of police accountability, transparency and standards.

“People have talked about the brutal, brutal beating of Tyre Nichols, which resulted in his death and is a reminder that we have a long way to go and solving systemic police violence in America,” said Horsford. 

Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, was pulled over by Memphis police officers on Jan. 7 for allegedly driving reckless. But the traffic stop soon turned violent, with five Black police officers beating Nichols unconscious. Nichols succumbed to his injuries from that encounter and died on Jan.10. 

“What we are saying as the Congressional Black Caucus is that no one should die as a result of a traffic stop,” Horsford said. “No child who goes to a park should not come home. No one should die in the middle of the night when someone busts through their door in their home.”

Horsford added that the CBC was not “going after law enforcement as a whole,” but rather targeting bad policing.

“We don’t want to end policing. We want to put an end to bad policing,” Horsford said. “All of us, regardless of party, should agree that bad policing has no place in America. That is why we are working to build consensus. This is not a Black issue alone. This is not a Black, Brown or white issue. This is a public safety and accountability issue. It is not a Republican, Democratic or Independent issue. It is a public safety and accountability issue.”

Mychael Schnell contributed.

Tags Congressional Black Caucus Joe Biden Merrick Garland police reform Steven Horsford Steven Horsford tyre nichols

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