WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Congressional Black Caucus is pledging to fight for police reforms at the federal level to stop brutality that they say has plagued black communities for generations.
The caucus called an emergency meeting Monday after a weekend of protests — some of which became violent — around the country over the death of George Floyd, who died last week after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck. The officer who knelt on him has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
“There’s many other things that could be done,” caucus chair Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., said of police reform. “You can’t come into communities that are poor and predominately folks of color and act like you’re in a war zone somewhere, but that is the mentality police bring to our neighborhoods”
Bass said it’s time to pass bold new policy to hold police accountable.
Outside the White House, protesters agreed, saying the federal government must take action.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said he supports reforms but that they must happen at the local level.
“George Floyd deserved better,” he said on the Senate floor. “All black Americans do.”
He promised to hold hearings to review police policy nationwide.
“This is an opportunity for Congress to discuss what reforms can and should be made to address police use of force,” Grassley said.
“I don’t want to go to hearing,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, told Nexstar later. “Hearings are designed to collect information. We have 300 years of information.”
“If nothing happens and if the other three officers (who were there when Floyd died) are not indicted,” Cleaver continued. “My fear is the nation will experience a level of disruption like we’ve never seen.”
Cleaver said the Congressional Black Caucus stands united and is drafting legislation it hopes will garner bipartisan support.