Tenn. congressman issues statement on recent use of deadly force against African Americans, introduces 2 bills

Tenn. congressman issues statement on recent use of deadly force against African Americans, introduces 2 bills
Congressman Steve Cohen (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen is calling for congressional action to address deadly force used against African Americans both recently and historically.

Cohen, who is a chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, issued a statement Friday afternoon in response to the recent murders involving African Americans in Georgia, Louisville and Minneapolis. He has also introduced two bills to help address the matter.

Cohen’s statement reads in part:

“Congress must act to address the unfair treatment of African Americans in their interactions with police. The recent outrageous mishandling of the Ahmaud Arbery murder case in Georgia, the police shooting of Breonna Taylor in Louisville and the videotaped asphyxiation of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer are just the most recent examples of an injustice African Americans have endured for centuries. It’s long past time to stop talking and act. As a first step, I have introduced two bills in previous Congresses and in the current Congress – H.R. 119, the National Statistics on Deadly Force Transparency Act, and H.R. 125, the Police Training and Independent Review Act – that could be marked up in the Judiciary Committee and sent to the floor immediately to help address this injustice. I believe they were ripe for consideration in the past but they are especially relevant now. I have been a longstanding supporter of the Office of the Community Oriented Policing (COPS programs). We must further invest in community-law enforcement relations and successful alternative models like restorative justice."

On Thursday, Cohen and the House Judiciary Committee demanded Attorney General William Barr and the justice department’s civil rights division open an investigation into the recent cases and the “pattern of police misconduct.”

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