George Floyd’s brother, his family’s lawyer, a former Secret Service agent and the sister of a federal law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty will testify before lawmakers on Wednesday as Congress works to respond to Floyd’s death in police custody.
The House Judiciary Committee hearing on police brutality, the first since Floyd’s death, will feature 12 witnesses, some appearing in person, and others virtually. Democrats, in addition to inviting Philonise Floyd and attorney Benjamin Crump, have invited a number of policing, law enforcement and criminal justice experts to appear before Congress, including Sherrilyn Ifill, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, who also serves as president of the Major City Chiefs Association.
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The hearing will “examine the crisis of racial profiling, police brutality and lost trust between police departments and the communities they serve,” the panel said in their notice announcing the hearing.
Philonise Floyd speaks during the funeral for his brother, George Floyd, on June 9, 2020, at The Fountain of Praise church in Houston.Philonise Floyd speaks during the funeral for his brother, George Floyd, on June 9, 2020, at The Fountain of Praise church in Houston.Godofredo A. Vasquez/Pool/AFP via Getty Images
Democratic leaders introduced a sweeping police reform package on Monday aimed at improving accountability and police training. It would ban police chokeholds, and also require states to gather data on police misconduct, among other provisions.
Republicans have invited three witnesses to Wednesday’s hearing, including Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent and conservative pundit frequently quoted by President Donald Trump, Darrell Scott, a pastor who served an adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign and several White House advisory councils. Angela Underwood Jacobs, a former congressional candidate and a city council member in Lancaster City, California, and the sister of a Federal Protective Services officer who was killed during protests in Oakland, California, is also expected to testify.
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Trump, who has called for justice for Floyd since his death, has also criticized protesters and pledged to support “law and order.”
He floated a baseless conspiracy theory on Twitter Tuesday, suggesting that one protestor in Buffalo, New York, hospitalized after being pushed to the ground by police officers, was an “ANTIFA provocateur,” a comment widely condemned by Democrats and many Republicans.
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Trump and Republicans have also used some activists’ calls to “defund the police” — a push generally calling for the reallocation of some police funds to other social services — to criticize Democrats, though party leaders have made clear that they oppose the idea.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic lawmakers take a knee to observe a moment of silence on Capitol Hill, June 8, 2020, in Washington, D.C.Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic lawmakers take a knee to observe a moment of silence on Capitol Hill, June 8, 2020, in Washington, D.C.Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images
Congressional Republicans are also working with the White House on their own policing reform measures that could improve training and data collection on misconduct, though the details of the proposals have not been finalized.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has scheduled a hearing next week on policing reform, telling reporters that he has told his members to “think big” in terms of witnesses.