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House Democrats unveil measure to condemn police brutality

House Democrats unveil measure to condemn police brutality
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Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) on Friday unveiled a resolution to condemn police brutality and the excessive use of force against African Americans amid national fervor over recent high-profile deaths of unarmed black people.

The resolution, authored by Democratic Reps. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyGOP congresswoman-elect wants to form Republican 'Squad' called 'The Force' Pelosi faces caucus divisions in Biden era Record number of Black women elected to Congress in 2020 MORE (Mass.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarMeet the three Democrats who could lead foreign affairs in the House Biden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far GOP congresswoman-elect wants to form Republican 'Squad' called 'The Force' MORE (Minn.), Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Top contender for Biden Defense chief would be historic pick Overnight Defense: 5 US service members killed in international peacekeeping helicopter crash in Egypt | Progressives warn Biden against Defense nominee with contractor ties | Trump executive order to ban investment in Chinese military-linked companies MORE (Calif.) and CBC Chairwoman Karen BassKaren Ruth BassThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience Five House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet Pressure grows on California governor to name Harris replacement MORE (Calif.) says that the House condemns "all acts of brutality" by law enforcement and calls for "the end of militarized policing practices."

Introduction of the measure comes on the same day that a former Minneapolis police officer was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter over the death of George Floyd, who died during the course of an arrest. The officer was seen on video earlier this week kneeling on Floyd's neck as the man said he couldn't breathe.

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The House resolution further calls on the Justice Department to "reinstitute its role in investigating individual instances of police brutality, violence, and racial profiling, and police departments that violate civil rights." It also expresses support for "independent, all-civilian review boards" to investigate police misconduct cases.

“For too long, Black and brown bodies have been profiled, surveilled, policed, lynched, choked, brutalized and murdered at the hands of police officers,” Pressley said in a statement. “There can be no justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, or any of the human beings who have been killed by law enforcement, for in a just world, they would still be alive. There must, however, be accountability.”

Omar, whose district includes Minneapolis, added that "the murder of George Floyd in my district is not a one-off event."

"As the People’s House, the House of Representatives must acknowledge these historical injustices and call for a comprehensive solution,” she said.

The resolution is the latest legislative effort by House Democrats to respond to the string of high-profile deaths of African Americans who were unarmed, including two at the hands of police.

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Floyd's death has been followed by days of unrest in Minneapolis, where authorities announced Friday they were charging one of the officers involved with third-degree murder and manslaughter. All four officers in the case were fired earlier this week.

In Kentucky, 26-year-old EMT Breonna Taylor was shot and killed inside her apartment in March by police who said they were executing a drug warrant. Protests erupted in Louisville on Thursday over her death, with at least seven people shot.

Those deaths followed the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed after being pursued and confronted by two white men while jogging in a Georgia neighborhood. That shooting occurred in February, but the two men arrested over his death were not taken into custody until this month.

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday sent a letter to Attorney General William BarrBill BarrNew DOJ rule could allow executions by electrocution, firing squad Clyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts Five federal inmates scheduled for execution before Inauguration Day MORE calling for the Justice Department to investigate all three deaths.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerTop Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn Democrats accuse GSA of undermining national security by not certifying Biden win MORE (D-N.Y.) further added that his panel will be "engaging in oversight and considering legislation in the coming weeks" to address racial profiling and police brutality.

"The federal government has a critical role to play in promoting a culture of accountability for all law enforcement organizations, including at the state and local level," Nadler said in a statement.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiObama chief economist says Democrats should accept smaller coronavirus relief package if necessary The five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden Democrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? MORE (D-Calif.) also pointed to legislation on Thursday from Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonFive House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet Lobbying world Harris calls it 'outrageous' Trump downplayed coronavirus MORE (D-Fla.) that would create a new federal commission to study the status of African American men around the country as part of a larger effort by the CBC and the Judiciary Committee to make changes in response to the string of high-profile shootings.

"There are all kinds of expressions of concern," Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. "But not just expressions of concern, plans to take action so that this stops."

Violent demonstrations erupted in Minneapolis late Thursday night as protesters demanded arrests in Floyd's death, and a city police station and businesses were set on fire. Tensions escalated further when President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rages against '60 Minutes' for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Pa. lawmaker was informed of positive coronavirus test while meeting with Trump: report MORE tweeted to attack the Minneapolis mayor and warn protesters that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts."

Twitter added a warning label to Trump's tweet stating it violated the company's policies by “glorifying violence.”

Trump later Friday insisted that his original "looting leads to shooting" tweet wasn't meant to incite violence.

“Looting leads to shooting, and that’s why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night - or look at what just happened in Louisville with 7 people shot. I don’t want this to happen, and that’s what the expression put out last night means,” Trump tweeted.

“It was spoken as a fact, not as a statement. It’s very simple, nobody should have any problem with this other than the haters, and those looking to cause trouble on social media,” Trump added. “Honor the memory of George Floyd!”