WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – The US Senate held hearings on coronavirus Tuesday but they couldn’t avoid the issue of police reform in light of the recent George Floyd protests.
Senator Dianne Feinstein says the message from protesters all over the country is clear.
“They want all of us to work to bring people together, to stop the division and to reform police practices,” Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-California, said.
Feinstein says before passing legislation, lawmakers must recognize the pain many Black Americans felt seeing George Floyd killed on video.
“When it happens it’s so graphic, and so real…You had a police officer responsible for the death of a victim. And people reacted,” Feinstein said.
“Our country is raw. America’s wounds are exposed,” Senator Kamala Harris, D-California, said.
Senator Kamala Harris called for an emergency Senate judiciary hearing to focus on law enforcement in communities of color.
Harris says a culture change has to start from within.
“The importance of law enforcement acknowledging the existence of applied bias, and the need to then deal with that,” Harris said.
The push for policing reform has support from both parties, Republican Senator Lindsay Graham called George Floyd’s killing a long overdue wakeup call.
“There are too many of these cases where African American men die in police custody,” Senator Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, said.
Graham says the solution, to him, is obvious.
“Community policing is the antidote to this, where there is a sense of community among the police and those being policed,” Graham said.
Graham says the Senate Judiciary Committee will schedule an emergency hearing on policing in two weeks.
He and other senators called for an end to looting and violence during otherwise peaceful protests.