WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) today spoke on the Senate Floor on the urgency of passing the Justice in Policing Act and appealed to his Republican colleagues to create “meaningful reforms in this moment” and not “symbolic gestures that will do nothing to save people’s lives.” Invoking the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown “and so many others” who have been killed at the hands of law enforcement, Booker explained how our current policing and justice system does not reflect “our common values…and highest ideals of this nation.”
Booker is the co-author of the Justice in Policing Act, groundbreaking legislation which will hold police accountable in court for egregious misconduct, reform police practices, and increase transparency through better data collection.
“The choice we have right now before us as this body is, in the face of Americans from all backgrounds, races, religions, and parties [who] are calling for reform, what will this body do? This is not a choice between one side of an aisle or another, it is a choice between meaningful reforms in this moment or making symbolic gestures that will do nothing to save people’s lives. It’s a choice between action and inaction.”
“This is not a time for half-steps and half-measures. It is not a time to nibble around the edges. It's not a time to find the lowest common denominator. It's not a time where so many Americans feel a metaphorical knee on the neck of justice. For us to pull our knee halfway off of that neck and call it progress. No. This is a time for us to do what is right and necessary to end the kind of violence and murder and unaccountability that we see that is too endemic in our nation.”
“I'm confident that one day in this country we will ban religious and racial profiling. I am confident one day in this country, we will ban chokeholds. I am confident that one day in this country, we will have a national registry of police misconduct, of police use of force. I am confident that one day, no one who murders someone in broad daylight, in front of cameras, will be shielded from accountability on the federal level in our civil courts or in our criminal courts by impossible standards to meet.”
“There will be a time in America where mental health issues will be treated with health care, and not police and prisons. There will be a time in America that addiction will be treated with treatment and not police and prisons. There'll be a time in America that the fragile within our society won't be further hurt and harmed by practices and prisons, but will be elevated and cared for. I know this time is coming. But I believe that the time is now – that justice delayed is justice denied. If we do not act and claim this moment, this time, then we as a country are going to find ourselves here again. Now is the time that we must act.”
“Listen to the American people—all 50 states, all backgrounds are joining together in a chorus of conviction to put a stop to this nightmare. Now is the time, no half-measures, no half-steps, no diluted attempts, no fainting towards what should be done, but not having the courage to boldly go in the direction that one day will pass. But I believe one day should be today. Congress should act.”