WASHINGTON — Members of the Congressional Black Caucus marched on the Justice Department today, delivering a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking that police accountability be investigated after the latest officer-involved shootings of black men.
Rep. Wm. “Lacy” Clay (D-Mo.) said the lawmakers urged Lynch “to require transparency, accountability and real transformation of local law enforcement agencies to stop the epidemic of killings of young African-Americans at the hands of local police.”
“The tragedies we have just witnessed in Tulsa and Charlotte show that the lessons of Ferguson have not yet been learned across the country,” the Missouri congressman said.
Clay has introduced legislation requiring an independent prosecutor in all cases where police use deadly force and helping departments buy body cameras for all officers. The bill, he said, “should be debated and passed without delay.”
House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) said outside the DOJ that “there have been so many incidents that the root causes are tied together with social racism that brands too many black citizens as predators and police practices that treat them as potential perpetrators, breeding distrust between law enforcement and communities that they are bound to protect.”
“Responding to this destructive cycle requires a broad-based approach,” he stressed.
Conyers commended Lynch and the Civil Rights Division “for so far being on the job — but we need more action now.”
“Every — every — black life matters,” said Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.).
— G. K. Butterfield (@GKButterfield) September 22, 2016
— Rep. Terri A. Sewell (@RepTerriSewell) September 22, 2016
— Kira Lerner (@kira_lerner) September 22, 2016
At her press conference today, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) expressed support for the CBC effort, declaring “black lives matter” and adding, “I hope that the investigations by the DOJ will ensure that justice is served.”
“And I say that in the spirit of reconciliation,” Pelosi said. “We have a great deal of respect for our men and women who protect us. We also have a great deal of respect for every life in our country. But we have to have that reconciliation include a sharing of the respect between both of those parties. Very sad.”