Charlie Crist

03/03/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/03/2021 21:23

Crist Calls for Supporting and Reforming Police, for Justice and Accountability

Washington, DC - U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) released a statement on House passage of H.R. 1280, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021, legislation to support law enforcement, fight systemic racism, weed out bad cops, and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

The bill initially passed last summer following the largest peaceful demonstration in American history, where Americans of all stripes took to the streets to demand justice and reform following the murder of George Floyd by a bad cop. This evening, the bill passed the House of Representatives 220-212.

Crist has hailed the leadership of St. Petersburg Police Department Chief Anthony Holloway, who along with the city of St. Petersburg, recently instituted a new program to work with social and mental health professionals to handle non-violent cases and support efforts to end homelessness, substance use disorders, and mental health crises. Additionally, Chief Holloway equipped his force with body cameras for the first time last year.

'I was raised to support law enforcement. I was taught that police put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe. That has always been my experience, and it is the experience for most Americans.

'May 25th of last year shocked the conscience of a nation as we witnessed 8 minutes and 46 seconds of a horror not so unfamiliar to some of our Black brothers and sisters.

'America's Original Sin has left lingering, stubborn systems of racism in its wake. You can find racial injustice in schools, health care, lending, neighborhoods, and yes, policing. I strongly support law enforcement - everyone knows a hero officer. They're everywhere. They care not only about keeping families safe but also improving the communities they serve. They do their jobs well and honorably. That's why we owe them, just as we owe our fellow Americans who are Black, our full commitment to fighting racism in policing, supporting training on community needs, increasing transparency, and holding bad cops accountable. Every profession has its bad apples, the ones who make everyone else look bad. Yet, only in the profession of law enforcement do the bad apples get a gun. No more. You cannot support the heroes in law enforcement if you're willing to shield bad cops who kill Black men and women.

'The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is about justice first and foremost because Black Lives Matter. Period. At the same time, it's about supporting law enforcement and recognizing the good work that police departments across America are doing to root out racism and augment justice. We all want safe communities. And we all want racial justice. We should seize the opportunity to deliver on both.'

The Justice in Policing Act would:

  • Establish national standards for policing;
  • Mandate data collection on police encounters;
  • Fund community-based policing programs;
  • Prohibit choke-holds, excessive force, and racial profiling;
  • Mandates body and dash cams;
  • Establish a police misconduct registry;
  • Eliminate qualified immunity so departments that harbor bad cops can be held accountable in court - just like any other profession.