Loading...

Congress Tries to Root Out White Supremacy Among Police

September 29, 2020 by Tom Ramstack
A Detail of the U.S. Capitol, Aug. 5, 2020. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers and witnesses at a congressional hearing Tuesday urged greater vigilance of police departments to weed out officers with White supremacist tendencies.

They said the White supremacists create a risk of inflaming racial tensions in a way that could go beyond any single police confrontation.

“The spread of violent White supremacy is a threat to everybody,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md.

The House Oversight and Reform subcommittee on civil rights and civil liberties held the hearing as Congress considers the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which is named after an African-American man strangled to death by a Minneapolis police officer in May. His death led to protests nationwide.

The bill includes tough provisions to hold police accountable for abuses of authority, particularly during racial incidents.

Raskin, who chairs the subcommittee, dismissed Republican accusations that he and other Democrats sought to undermine the ability of police to respond to crime and threats.

Instead, he blamed a small number of police officers for inciting problems for many others. He said the Trump administration shared the fault.

“As with COVID-19, the Trump administration has tried to mislead the public by downplaying the problem,” Raskin said.

The House passed the Justice in Policing Act two months ago but it faces opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate.

The bill would require police departments to revamp their procedures by banning chokeholds and no-knock warrants. It would trim back officers’ qualified immunity, making it easier to prosecute or sue them for misconduct.

Republicans have proposed their own police reform bill but it is weaker in its demands for reform. It is similar to the Justice in Policing Act only in its requirements for more training of police officers and transparency in police practices.

The training in both bills would focus on racial sensitivity and avoidance of brutality.

The Democratic proposals drew criticism from Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, who said they jeopardize public safety.

“You’re undermining our entire rule of law,” Roy said.

He talked about the Austin city council cutting back on its police personnel by one-third in response to the Black Lives Matter movement’s call to defund police departments.

As a result, some Austin residents were faced with delayed or no police response when they fell victim to criminal attacks.

“In many cases, they cannot call on the police for help,” Roy said.

Heather Taylor, a former police sergeant and president of the Ethical Society of Police, based in St. Louis, Mo., recommended that any reforms begin by consulting all groups that might be affected.

“We have to have diversity there to bring these views into play,” Taylor said.

She said she knew of many African-Americans who wanted to become police officers in St. Louis but they experienced difficulty obtaining or holding the jobs.

“The catch is that the hiring process sometimes is not fair,” Taylor said.

Mark Napier, sheriff of Pima County, Ariz., said many of the concerns about police misconduct already are being addressed by thoroughly screening police officers.

“Today we even scan social media” to search for troublesome behavior of officers and applicants, he said.

“These are the actions of a very, very few members of law enforcement,” Napier said.

After they are hired, the officers are trained to avoid racial bias and improper use of force, he said.

However, he acknowledged that racism still exists and is “a serious problem.”

A+
a-

Congress

December 3, 2021
by Dan McCue
Ethics Panel to Investigate Illegal Contribution Charges Against Fortenberry

WASHINGTON — The House Committee on Ethics has formed a panel to determine whether Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., is guilty... Read More

WASHINGTON — The House Committee on Ethics has formed a panel to determine whether Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., is guilty of accepting illegal campaign contributions, this on the heels of the Justice Department filing criminal charges against the nine-term congressman. Rep. Susan Wild, D-Penn., will serve... Read More

December 3, 2021
by Dan McCue
House Passes Stopgap Spending Extension Through Feb. 18

WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday evening passed a stopgap spending bill that, if the Senate follows suit, will keep... Read More

WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday evening passed a stopgap spending bill that, if the Senate follows suit, will keep the federal government running until Feb. 18. The vote was 221-212 with one Republican joining Democrats in approving the measure. It now moves on to the... Read More

December 2, 2021
by Dan McCue
DeFazio Stepping Down From Congress After 36 Years

WASHINGTON — Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is stepping down at the end of... Read More

WASHINGTON — Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is stepping down at the end of the current Congress. He told colleagues he decided not to seek a 19th term to have more time to look after his health and well-being after... Read More

December 2, 2021
by Dan McCue
House to Vote on Stopgap Spending Measure, Prospects in Senate Unclear

WASHINGTON — An agreement has been reached on a stopgap spending bill that will keep the federal government running until... Read More

WASHINGTON — An agreement has been reached on a stopgap spending bill that will keep the federal government running until Feb. 18. House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said the agreement on the continuing resolution was filed at 8 a.m. Thursday morning and that the... Read More

November 30, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Toy Safety Hazards Bring Warning From Senate as Christmas Nears

WASHINGTON — Trista Hamsmith told a Senate panel Tuesday the Christmas story no parent wants to endure. Her normally lively... Read More

WASHINGTON — Trista Hamsmith told a Senate panel Tuesday the Christmas story no parent wants to endure. Her normally lively daughter, a toddler named Reese, began coughing and exhibited difficulty breathing last year. A doctor diagnosed her with a common childhood respiratory infection called croup, gave... Read More

November 30, 2021
by Dan McCue
CBO Confirms: If Congress Fails to Act, Treasury Could Go Bust in Days

WASHINGTON — If the debt limit remains unchanged and the Treasury Department follows through on transferring $118 billion to the... Read More

WASHINGTON — If the debt limit remains unchanged and the Treasury Department follows through on transferring $118 billion to the Highway Trust Fund on Dec. 15, the federal government could run out of cash before the end of the month, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said... Read More

News From The Well
Exit mobile version