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Police Accountability

"Racial profiling has got to stop. Just because you wear a hoodie, doesn't make you a hoodlum." - Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL-1)
On March 30, 2017, the CBC co-hosted a forum with the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, and the Ranking Member of the House Oversight Committee, Elijah Cummings, on building trust between communities of color and police officers. Panelists included NFL player Malcolm Jenkins, former NFL player Anquan Boldin, and Professor Phillip Atiba Goff, PhD, the Cofounder and President of the Center for Policing Equity. 

"Hands up, don't shoot" - Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY-09)
During the forum, panelists discussed their own experiences with the police, including the experiences of their family members, and how they hope to improve relationships between communities of color and the police while supporting programs to help inmates successfully re-enter their communities. Boldin’s cousin Corey Jones was shot by a police officer while waiting for roadside assistance.

"Corey was a good kid. He played drums in church. But his faith couldn’t keep him alive," Boldin said during the forum.  

In addition to publicly calling on DOJ to launch civil rights investigations police brutality cases and introducing and advocating for the passage of criminal justice reform and 21st century policing measures, the forum was one of many examples of recent efforts by the CBC to hold police accountable at the federal level for excessive use of force.  
  • On December 11, 2014 CBC Members Marc Veasey (D-TX-33) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD-07) participated in a walk-out protest with Senate Chaplin Barry Black and African-American staffers to protest the lack of indictments in the cases of both Michael Brown and Eric Garner. “Hands up, don’t shoot,” they shouted during the protest.

  • On December 2, 2014, after unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer, CBC members took to the House floor to show solidarity with thousands across the country who protested the shooting. “Hands up, don’t shoot,” the CBC members said during their remarks. CBC members also called on Congress to “run toward the problem” and pass criminal justice reform measures.

  • On March 28, 2012, after unarmed African-American teenager Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a self-appointed neighborhood watchman, CBC Member Bobby Rush (D-IL-1) took to the House floor to warn against the “American tragedy that is too often repeated in the streets of our nation,” referring to the killing of unarmed African-Americans by police officers and others. Rush then removed his suit jacket to reveal a hooded sweatshirt, similar to the one Martin was wearing when he was killed. “Racial profiling has to stop. Just because you wear a hoodie, doesn't make you a hoodlum,” Rush said, as he pulled the hoodie over his head and put a pair of dark sunglasses on. Immediately, Rush was prompted by the presiding officer to leave the House floor since the hoodie violated the chamber's dress code. 

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