In light of civil unrest across the nation, Congressman Eric Swalwell recently issued the following statement:
“I’m an original co-sponsor of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, and as a Judiciary Committee member and co-chair of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, I’ll do all I can to make it law. That starts with this Wednesday’s Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on policing practices and law enforcement accountability.
“Black lives matter. The need for congressional action to reform policing in this country was overdue long before the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor or Tamir Rice. They were overdue long before Sandra Bland, Amadou Diallo or Rodney King. Now, as a result of our inaction, many have lost their lives, and thousands of Americans have taken to the streets to hold their leaders accountable.
“We can look back over our history and compile a long list of victims, but unfortunately there is a woefully short list of federal reforms. Republican- and Democratic-led congresses alike have failed to step up as we’ve needed, so today we have a responsibility to do what is right. I encourage all of my colleagues, regardless of party affiliation, House and Senate both, to act with a sense of urgency in our work to soberly consider and ultimately implement these reforms.
“As a former prosecutor and son and brother of police officers, I know these issues can be complicated to address, with many nuances to balance and input from stakeholders across the spectrum — and too often this balance has led to stagnation rather than successful policy.
“I met last Thursday with black community leaders and law enforcement officials in my district, hosted by Rev. Bishop J.W. Macklin at Glad Tidings International Church of God in Christ in South Hayward. We had a frank, heartfelt discussion, and we agreed real reforms are required to end police brutality, so that all Americans can feel protected and served, are long overdue.
“Those at the meeting shared several moving stories, but one that I'll never forget was from a black man who only feels safe in his home. ‘I feel safe when I wake up in my home and when I return home from work. When I drive to work, my neighbors look at the nice car I worked hard to pay for and wonder, How did that black man get that car? On my way to work, I am often followed by police officers who run my license plate to see if I am a criminal. What I want to come out of this tragic killing is for people who look like me to feel safe everywhere.’
“This statement should move all of us. It moved me especially because it came from a senior police officer in the East Bay.
“The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 is just a start; more must and will be done. I have confidence that our House leaders are prepared for the work ahead.”