June 30, 2020

Duckworth, Kelly, Davis & Rush Discuss Police Violence in the Black Community at Virtual Roundtable


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Representatives Robin Kelly (D-IL-02), Danny Davis (D-IL-07) and Bobby Rush (D-IL-01) today hosted a virtual roundtable with local leaders to discuss legislative solutions to help make systemic changes to policing and better support the Black community, including the Justice in Policing Act, of which Duckworth is a co-sponsor. The Members were joined by New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Stephen Thurston, My Block, My Hood, My City Founder and CEO Jahmal Cole, ACLU Illinois Executive Director Colleen Connell, Kids Off The Block Founder Diane Latiker, Westside Justice Center Board President Brendan Shiller and Village of Hazel Crest Police Chief Mitchell R. Davis III.

“It was an honor to speak with leaders in the Chicagoland area today who are working on the ground every day to help the Black community,” Duckworth said. “At the Federal level, I’ll keep working with my colleagues to pass legislation that reckons with the real, deep, uncomfortable realities and systemic biases that have marred our country for centuries. It should be obvious by now that the epidemic of police brutality won’t be fixed by some Band-Aid bill, and families like George Floyd’s, Breonna Taylor’s and Laquan McDonald’s deserve justice.”

“For too long, lawless and rogue police officers have run the streets without consequence, simply dismissed as a few bad apples. Well those bad apples are spoiling the bunch and it is past time that we hold these killer cops accountable,” Rush said. “George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Laquan McDonald, Fred Hampton, and countless others have lost their lives at the hands of police violence, but thanks to the protests we are seeing in the streets of Chicago and beyond, we are one step closer to getting justice for them all. Moreover, with the House passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, we ensure that their deaths will not be in vain as we seek to hold all officers accountable and march toward the beloved community envisioned by Dr. King.”

“We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Floyd family and too many others who’ve lost loved ones to illegal police violence,” Kelly said. “Congress has passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act bill and now the Senate must rise to this pivotal moment in history and respond to the nationwide cry for justice. Americans are demanding change; the status quo of injustice is no longer tolerable.”

“It has been the sustained, determined outpouring of protest by hundreds of thousands of people in every corner of our nation despite the pandemic, despite that they were often met by police violence, despite the determined resistance of the Trump administration that has broken through the accumulated decades of structural racism, reactionary legislation and lack of focus by the media to begin the process of restructuring our entire policing/criminal justice system,” Davis said. “The question now before us as a nation is: can we seize the moment to begin to address the inseparable, interrelated strands of injustice and inequality in the areas of poverty, health care, education and housing and other critical arenas as well.”

Last week Duckworth spoke on the Senate floor in support of the Democratic Justice in Policing Act, and highlighted the areas where the Republican proposal, the JUSTICE Act, falls far short of providing the accountability and transparency necessary to bring about systemic change to law enforcement. Provisions of Duckworth’s legislation, the Police Training and Independent Review Act, to strengthen accountability and transparency over law enforcement use of lethal force by rewarding states that enact laws requiring independent reviews, criminal investigations and when necessary, prosecutions of police officers who commit violent crimes, were included in the Justice in Policing Act.