House will tackle police brutality, racial profiling in June 10 hearing

The House Judiciary Committee will host a June 10 hearing in the wake of George Floyd's death to tackle racial profiling, police brutality and the fractured relationship between police departments and the communities they serve, marking the first step for the House to pass police reform legislation.

The committee hearing comes as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday that Democrats will put forth "comprehensive" legislation in the coming days to address these issues.

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"Many of these bills have been in the hopper. And now with all the public exposure of it, we have a better chance of getting them turned into law," Pelosi said Thursday in a call with reporters.

She said the death of Floyd in Minneapolis and subsequent nationwide protests demanding an end to long-standing racial injustices have created a moment for lawmakers to act, unlike past failed attempts at police reforms.

"This is something completely different," Pelosi said. "We have reached ... an inflection point. This was like a tinderbox. It has changed everything."

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The police brutality hearing will take place at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Capitol Visitors Center and will be livestreamed here.

The hearing could be a combustible scene, however, as some protests have escalated into violent riots, and officers in several cities have been attacked. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have backed protests calling for justice after Floyd's death, but some have also sought to urge calm and stress that law enforcement still needs support.

Hearing witnesses have not yet been announced, but House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said they will invite community leaders, advocates, academics and law enforcement. Following the hearing, the committee will move legislative proposals to tackle the problem.

"There are now protests taking place in every state as people take a stand against police brutality and racism," Nadler said. "People are rightfully upset, they are frustrated, and they want to be heard. They want real change, not meaningless words. I want Americans to know that I hear them, and I see them."

The committee hearing comes as the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is pushing for the House to pass major police reform legislation this month to better hold officers accountable for the death of black people in their custody.

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“Our nation needs Congress to act," said Rep. Karen Bass, chairwoman of the CBC and member of the Judiciary Committee. "This is our moral moment – we must look at legislation to address laws that shield police officers from ever being accountable."

Bass wants the House to pass legislation before July to break down the legal barriers to suing and prosecuting police and to create a national database to track abusive law enforcement officers.

"For years, we have introduced legislation addressing police brutality," Bass, D-Calif., said. "This hearing is our next step in implementing change to our system."

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