Last week marked the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. One union wants the U.S. Senate to follow the House’s lead and honor Floyd’s memory properly.
They want a bill passed that could change policing in America.
The AFL-CIO called for the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The bill would also create a national database of police misconduct. It would make it mandatory to use body and dash cameras. It would ban chokeholds.
The bill would also address qualified immunity, which broadly protects officers and all government officials from lawsuits.
In a statement, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Congress needs to get on the proverbial ball and make the bill law.
“Working people throughout America—from large urban cities to small rural towns—protested peacefully, marched down streets and declared three words: Black Lives Matter,” said Trumka. “Today, we continue to demand action to root out systemic racism in all forms…the labor movement joins our allies in calling on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
“This bill is not only a legislative priority, it’s our nation’s moral obligation,” continued Trumka. “Elected leaders should work together with all stakeholders, including America’s unions, to finally make police reform a reality.”
Chauvin was charged for second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter for killing George Floyd after someone called 911 suspecting that Floyd was using counterfeit bills for purchases. Officers were also told that Floyd was under the influence. The situation ended with Chauvin killing Floyd after leaving his knee on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds using his entire weight to keep him there. On a cellphone video, recorded by 17-year-old Daniella Frazier, Floyd could be heard saying that his stomach hurt, he couldn’t breathe and screaming out for his mom.
The Minnesota Police Department said Floyd was told to step out of the car and resisted arrest once he did.
The aftermath of his death, along with the police murder of Breonna Taylor, sparked Black Lives Matter and anti-police brutality protests around the country. The movement garnered support from the likes of NBA Star LeBron James, actor and singer Jaime Foxx and director Ava DuVernay.
The bill has also garnered the support of the America Public Health Association. In a statement, APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD said that if not addressed, racism and its end products will continue to harm the country not only spiritually, but physically.
“One year ago today, we witnessed the murder of George Floyd with horror, shock and outrage: a tragic result of police violence too long overlooked in our nation. While we continue to mourn the
loss of Floyd, we hope that the recent conviction over his killing is a signal of increasing accountability for police misconduct.
“We recognize the incremental progress our society has made in the past year, which ranges from growing action to address racism as a public health crisis and racial equity reforms within our institutions and culture,” said Benjamin.