Time has come for federal police reform

The nation is facing a watershed moment in its struggle to correct a problem that has grown into a full-blown crisis.

We must debate honestly, completely and comprehensively the issue of police reform at the federal level. What does that take? It requires our Congress — House members and senators — to determine that racist policies in local police departments have contributed to the needless deaths of too many African-Americans.

George Floyd’s tragic demise two weeks ago in Minneapolis, Minn., ad the hands of a rogue white cop appears to be the tipping point.

Democrats are calling for a national response. Republicans so far have been quiet about that. Democrats see racism as a national crisis; Republicans appear to view it as a local matter to be solved at the local level.

I believe today that we are entangled in a national crisis that needs a solution enacted by Congress and signed into law by the president of the United States.

We can talk all we want about police departments enacting policies that ban chokeholds or other restraint techniques that inhibit people’s ability to breathe … for crying out loud! Do we trust all PDs to do the right thing? No. We cannot.

I believe the time has come for Congress to enter this fight. There ought to be a solution that that makes use of these techniques a violation of federal law. I am not not altogether certain that we can endure the kind of response we have seen in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Will a federal prohibition end this mistreatment of U.S. citizens? Probably not. However, there must be ways to apply deterrent pressure on beat cops and the brass sitting in police headquarters to ensure that they follow federal law or else face serious consequences.

Call it the George Floyd Law if you wish, or name it after any of the individuals who have died as a result of police brutality.

Let’s get it done!

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