In response to the recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, House Judiciary Committee Democrats sent a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) demanding prompt action, including the opening of pattern and practice investigations of police misconduct.
The House Judiciary Committee will also be pursuing additional oversight and legislative action in June to address the series of racially motivated violence and unjust policing practices that have resulted in the deaths of African Americans across the country. The NAACP has called for new legislation to include several principles.
The letter calls for the DOJ to investigate the prosecutors involved in the case of Arbery, an unarmed African American man who was shot in cold blood while running in his neighborhood. The letter also calls for DOJ to open pattern and practice investigations into the police departments in Louisville, where Taylor was gunned down in her own home by police, and in Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed after a police officer kneeled on his neck and body.
In the wake of high-profile applications of fatal force by police against unarmed African American men in Ferguson, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Chicago, the Justice Department investigated policing practices in those cities and uncovered rampant abuses of constitutional rights and civil liberties. During the Obama Administration, the Justice Department negotiated consent decree agreements with the police departments in all four cities.
Following President Trump’s election and his appointment of Jefferson B. Sessions as Attorney General, the Justice Department abruptly changed its interpretation of its statutory role to eliminate patterns and practices of unconstitutional conduct in local police departments.
Meanwhile, the NAACP is calling for new federal legislation to include the following principles: