House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday vowed that House lawmakers, in tandem with the Biden administration, will not stop working until the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act becomes law.
The comments came after House lawmakers re-introduced the bill. It was first unveiled last June when nationwide protests were ascendant after the police custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“Today, by re-introducing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the House is again joining the American people to turn this moment of agony into one of action, as we honor George Floyd’s life and the lives of all killed by police brutality,” Pelosi said in a statement.
The bill, Pelosi said, will address “systemic racism, curb police brutality and save lives.” It also bans chokeholds, stops no-knock warrants, combats racial profiling, and establishes new protections to prevent and combat police misconduct.
Pelosi said that despite last year’s protests that brought renewed calls for criminal justice reform, “police brutality continues.” She said there were more police killings in 2020 than in 2019, with minority groups “bearing the brunt of this cruelty.”
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“Working with the Biden-Harris Administration and the millions of Americans marching and demanding action, we will not stop working until this legislation becomes law,” Pelosi said.
The comments as several witnesses have been subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury considering charges against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is already facing state murder charges in Floyd’s death.
The Justice Department’s federal civil rights investigation has been focused on Chauvin and some of the witnesses, including other officers who worked with Chauvin, according to a person who spoke to The Associated Press.
Jury selection begins in Chavin’s state case on March 8 — he faces second-degree murder and manslaughter charges — with opening statements scheduled for March 29.
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The increased federal grand jury activity in connection with Floyd’s death comes as the Justice Department, under President Joe Biden, is expected to focus more on civil rights issues, criminal justice overhauls and policing policies in the wake of nationwide protests over the death of Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.