“I think we’ve seen on the streets of America, across the country in large numbers, day in and day out, saying, really, young people are thinking differently,” Pelosi said of the protests that have broken out across the country.
Pelosi said Floyd’s death has provided the United States with a “golden opportunity” to remember other victims of police brutality but also remember the “other law enforcement” who keep Americans safe. The 80-year-old politician later argued that the current climate is a chance to enact change.
“We will miss the opportunity if we didn’t take advantage of it, and show a way, racial profiling, chokeholds, the doctrine of, all of the issues we deal with in the legislation will make a difference, a concrete difference, in how we respect people.”
“So this is about respect — respect for individuals, but respect for our founders and what they had intended,” Pelosi added.
Pelosi’s appearance comes after she and other top Democrats unveiled a new crime bill, the “Justice in Policing Act,” that would offer reforms to overhaul the policing system in the United States. As reported by Yahoo News, the bill would ban chokeholds — including the kind used on Floyd — and prohibit no-knock warrants for drug cases. The latter practice was used during the killing of EMT Breonna Taylor in March.
The legislation would also allow state attorneys general to create a process for independently investigating police misconduct or excessive use of force and provide victims with more opportunity to launch civil lawsuits against officers. In addition, the bill would require the use of body cameras for uniformed officers and dashboard cameras for all federal police vehicles.
Despite many calls for the defunding of police departments, the bill does not decrease police budgets.
Pelosi unveiled the bill along with the Congressional Black Caucus. The legislation was created by Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, and Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.
There have been multiple pushes for police reform in Congress following Floyd’s death. As reported by Reason, Libertarian Justin Amash proposed his own bill to end the qualified immunity doctrine, which is behind multiple barriers that plaintiffs face when attempting to file civil lawsuits against police officers. The bill has gained the support of various House Representatives, including Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, and Ro Khanna.