Washington, D.C., June 25, 2020 – Today, the Brady Campaign urges all members of the U.S. House of Representatives to vote for H.R. 7120, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020. This bill reforms policing tactics and permissible use of force, mandates transparency, and facilitates accountability to address the manifold defects in policing that enable and protect police violence. This bill is an important first step and foundation upon which to build in the effort to eliminate police violence and empower communities.
Brady President Kris Brown explained:
“Few moments in our nation’s history have illustrated the need for action as clearly as those of the last month. The video of a police officer kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes until he died may have shocked many with its casual cruelty and air of impunity, but it was far from shocking. It was not even unique. Black Americans have called for attention to police violence for decades. In just the last ten years, the police murders of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Atatiana Jefferson, Freddy Gray, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Aiyanna Stanley Jones, and many others have drawn attention to the issue of police violence and its clear intersection with our nation’s systemic racism. This year alone, the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks have continued to reflect the need for our nation to seriously address this problem. In many ways, our nation has failed its Black and Brown citizens by failing to address police violence. For Brady, we cannot be silent. Police violence is gun violence, and we will never solve our nation’s gun violence epidemic without addressing police violence.
Fueled both by systemic racism and unregulated power, our policing system institutions are broken and unjust. We need solutions that clearly address that reality. The Justice in Policing Act is a necessary first step to put us on a path towards wholesale change. The question has been posed for millennia ‘who watches the watchers.’ In this matter, the federal government must act to reform policing in our country. It’s why Brady strongly urges all members of the U.S. House of Representatives to vote for the Justice in Policing Act.”
The United States sees rates of police violence and officer-involved shootings at far higher rates than its peer countries. Nearly 1,100 people were killed by police in 2019, a number and rate far higher than in other, industrialized nations. While there is certainly a connection between high rates of police violence and high rates of gun violence in the United States, it is not a simple corollary. Police violence is inextricably linked to white supremacy in the United States, as American Indian/Alaska Native, Latinx, and especially Black Americans face numerous aggressions in their interaction with law enforcement than their white counterparts, each and every day.
Black men are 2.8 times more likely to be the victims of deadly police force than their white counterparts, while unarmed Black men are more than four times as likely to be shot and killed by police than their White peers. Similarly, Native Americans are 3.1 times more likely to be killed by police than white Americans and, while they comprise just 0.8 percent of the total U.S. population, Native Americans are 1.9 percent of police-involved shooting fatalities.
Brady holds that police violence is the unlawful, unnecessary, or disproportionate use of force by police. Because police violence, in all of its forms, is facilitated by the direct use, threat, or perceived threat of firearms, not only to the victims but also bystanders with intent to intervene on their behalf, police violence is gun violence.
Our nation urgently needs action to address this reality and stop this violence. Brady urges the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.