Pelosi Says House Police Reform Bill ‘Worthy of George Kirby’s Name’


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during her weekly press briefing Friday that the Democrat-led police reform bill is “worthy of George Kirby’s name.”

The bill, however, is named for George Floyd, who died one month ago while in the custody of the Minneapolis police.

Pelosi said Floyd’s brother, Philonise, approached her before he testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month.

“He said to me, ‘Madam Speaker, do you think I can tell George’s daughter that his name will be always remembered because you’ll name the bill for him?’ And I said, ‘Well, I’ll recommend that to the Judiciary Committee and to the Congressional Black Caucus, who have shaped the bill, but I only will do that if you tell me that this legislation is worthy of George Kirby’s name,’” Pelosi explained. “He said it is.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer mistakenly referred to Floyd as “Floyd Taylor” and “George Taylor” during a debate on the Senate floor this week.

The House bill, called the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, passed the House Thursday in a vote of 236-181. Pelosi said the competing Senate Republican police reform bill does “nothing” and attacked the press for giving “Republicans too much credit.”

According to Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA-37), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and lead sponsor of the House legislation, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would ban the use of chokeholds by law enforcement officers and end racial and religious profiling.

Additionally, she said it would eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement, establish national standards for the operation of police departments, mandate data collection on police encounters, streamline federal law to prosecute excessive force, and establish independent prosecutors for police investigations.

The Senate police reform bill has been criticized by Democrats because it would withhold some federal dollars from any law enforcement agency that has not implemented a chokehold ban, but wouldn’t institute an outright ban on the maneuver. However, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), sponsor of the Senate bill, said the Democrat bill doesn’t actually ban chokeholds at the state or local level, only the federal level, and imposes weaker financial penalties on agencies that use chokeholds.

“They don’t ban chokeholds on the local level, the state level. You know why? There’s this little thing called the Constitution. They can’t ban chokeholds. Eric Garner’s situation would not have been cured by their ban on chokeholds because their ban on chokeholds were for federal agents,” Scott said during a Senate floor speech Wednesday.

“Our legislation instructed the attorney general to ban chokeholds for federal agents. And what else did we do? Well, we said we would reduce funding by 20 percent. They reduced funding by 10 percent. So our penalty was twice the penalty of the other side, and this is supposed to be an issue,” he continued.

Scott’s speech was delivered after Senate Democrats blocked the bill from being put up for further debate during a procedural vote this week.

“The actual problem is not what is being offered. It is who is offering it,” Scott added. “Because the who matters, they cannot allow this party to be seen as a party that reaches out to all communities in this nation, and unfortunately without the kind of objectivity in the media that is necessary to share the message of what’s actually happening, no one will ever know.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05), who represents Minneapolis in Congress, said after the passage of the House bill that members of her community “have long lived in terror from law enforcement sworn to protect them.”

“This legislation is an important step in the right direction, but we can’t stop here,” she said in a statement. “We must heed the calls of the people who are impacted by police brutality daily and restructure broken police departments across our country.”

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].







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