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Pressley: Chauvin verdict not a victory without 'meaningful policy change'

Pressley: Chauvin verdict not a victory without 'meaningful policy change'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyThe Memo: Some Democrats worry rising crime will cost them It's past time we elect a Black woman governor House Republicans introduce resolution to censure the 'squad' MORE (D-Mass.) said Friday that this week’s conviction of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer convicted in the murder of George Floyd, must be followed by “meaningful policy change.” 

Pressley wrote in a USA Today op-ed that she is “accountable to the calls for collective liberation” and that legislation on criminal justice reform is the key to any substantive change.

“What I want my colleagues in Congress and at every level of government to understand is that the only thing that matters in this moment is meaningful policy change and budget change — period. It’s time to put our money where our mouth is and invest in resources that provide the restorative, trauma-informed, community-based solutions people are demanding. Our communities have already lost too much” she wrote.

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Pressley’s remarks come days after a Minneapolis jury convicted Chauvin of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. 

Bystander footage of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes went viral last year and sparked nationwide protests and ongoing calls for Congress to pass police reform legislation.

Pressley said she hopes the verdict will give Floyd’s family a sense of peace, but justice still has not been delivered.

“I hope the outcome of this trial brings the Floyd family some peace. But I hope the rest of us remain acutely uncomfortable with the fact that justice can never truly be served because George Floyd is dead. Our work will not be complete until we legislate to dismantle every system that finances and perpetuates brutality, murder and state-sanctioned violence at home and abroad,” she said.

The op-ed comes amid Democrats’ broader push for the Senate to take up and pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which has already been approved in the House but faces hurdles in reaching the upper chamber’s 60-vote threshold.

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The legislation would prohibit racial profiling at every level of law enforcement; ban chokeholds, carotid holds and no-knock warrants; institute a national police misconduct registry; and overhaul legal protections currently afforded to law enforcement known as qualified immunity.

“George Floyd was murdered almost a year ago,” President BidenJoe BidenBaltimore police chief calls for more 'boots on the ground' to handle crime wave Biden to deliver remarks at Sen. John Warner's funeral Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump MORE said in remarks from the White House Wednesday urging Congress send the bill to his desk for a signature.

“It shouldn't take a whole year to get this done.”