NEW YORK –– Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements denouncing Senate Republicans for failing to act in the month since the House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
“The families of George Floyd and so many other Black Americans who have been killed by law enforcement should not have to wait one more day for federal legislation to hold police accountable,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is an important step forward, and Senate Republicans must pass the bill and do their part to create a more just policing system.”
“Day after day, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to pick this life-saving bill up off of his desk and give it a fair vote in the Senate,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Sen. McConnell may control votes in the Senate, he doesn’t control voters. And we’ll do everything in our power to make sure that this is his last term as Majority Leader.”
“This bill is long overdue, but it is a historic step toward finally creating an America where Black lives matter and Black people receive justice,” said Pastor Jackie Jackson, a member of the Everytown Survivor Network from Ohio. “Since the day my ancestors were stolen from Africa and brought to America, there have been little to no consequences in this country for killing Black people––especially for police officers. That’s why George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others are dead today. I applaud the House for passing this bill, and I demand that Senate Republicans stop stalling and vote.”
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would take several necessary steps to address police brutality, racial profiling, and other fundamental problems in our law enforcement system. It was passed through the House after months of historic protests led by civil rights and racial justice organizations, organizers, and advocates across the nation, which began after the killing of George Floyd by a white Minneapolis police officer.
The Senate companion to the House-passed George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, led by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), was introduced on June 8th. Senate Republicans have refused to act on either bill despite failing to advance their own watered-down version of police reform legislation.
In addition to George Floyd, several other Black people who have been killed in recent months in incidents of racism and gun violence, including Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed by two white men in Georgia while he was out on a run; Rayshard Brooks, who was shot and killed by police in Atlanta; Sean Reed, who was shot and killed by Indianapolis police; and Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by Louisville police. Breonna Taylor’s killers still have not been arrested.
As we mourn for the people whose stories have become well-known, we also know that there are countless similar stories that haven’t made the news. Black Americans are 10 times more likely than white Americans to die by gun homicide and Black children and teens are 14 times more likely than their white peers to die by gun homicide. And according to Mapping Police Violence, Black Americans account for only 13 percent of the population but are 3 times more likely to be killed by police than white people.