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George Floyd justice in policing act must become law

March 3rd. That’s when the House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. If approved by the senate and signed by the president, it will hold cops accountable for abusing people in the name of law and order.

March 3rd is significant because on that date, the first videotaped police beating of a Black man went viral. It was before camera phones and social media, before hashtags and text messages. Back then, on March 3rd, 1991, the white cops who beat Rodney King on a dark Los Angeles road had no idea their abuse was being filmed.

But when that bystander sent the tape to a local news station, the world watched in shock, not only as the video played repeatedly on television, but also as the cops were acquitted after their trial was moved to an all-white town.

That seems like a lifetime ago, until you consider all the other cops who’ve beaten and killed unarmed Black people and gotten away with it since then. In 1991, it was rare to have video of those incidents. Now we see those videos every day. George Floyd was among the worst of them, because in that video an officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, killing him as bystanders filmed him with their cell phones.

This must never happen again, and that’s why we need the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. It limits qualified immunity so cops can be sued for their on-duty actions; it gives the Justice department more tools to investigate patterns of police abuse; and makes it easier to convict a cop for misconduct in a federal prosecution.

But more than anything, it protects Black people from dying at the hands of police. That’s why it must be approved by the senate, and that’s why Joe Biden must sign it into law.

Photo: George Floyd protest. By. David Andrews

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