Rep. Ilhan Omar Announces Slate of Bills To Address George Floyd Murder, Government Response
MINNEAPOLIS—Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) today announced four bills in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the unrest in response. The bills address the need for better accountability for police misuse of force, the violent police response to protests, the President’s use of military action against U.S. Citizens, and the need for economic relief for communities impacted.
National Police Misuse of Force Investigation Board Act (co-lead by Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee)– This bill will establish a federal agency responsible for investigating all nationwide deaths occurring in police custody, officer-involved shootings and uses of force that result in severe bodily injury. The agency will conduct unbiased, independent investigations and issue determinations of responsibility and recommendations for reform that will prevent future violence. Those findings will be admissible in court and federal funding for law enforcement activities and equipment will be curtailed if a police department fails to take meaningful action on the Board’s policy and reform recommendations.
“The systemic targeting and use of deadly and brutal force against Black people stems from the long legacy of slavery, lynching, and Jim Crow laws in the U.S.,” said Rep. Omar. “If we are to change this pattern of violent racism, we need to fundamentally restructure our criminal justice system. We need an independent agency—outside law enforcement—to investigate misuse of force in an unbiased manner.”
Bill to Criminalize Police Violence Against Protesters – This legislation will allow any officer who kills or causes bodily harm to a civilian during the response to a protest to be charged with a federal crime. We must ensure that the constitutional right to protest is duly protected, not threatened or stifled by law enforcement officers.
“This week we’ve watched the police use excessive force against nonviolent protesters, indiscriminately deploying pepper spray, tear gas, batons, and rubber bullets,” Rep. Omar said. “We can no longer stand by and watch the constitutional rights of Americans get trampled and individuals harmed. Congress must act to ensure the first amendment is protected and that law enforcement officers are held accountable for harm caused during their response to protests”
Amending the Insurrection Act (co-lead by CPC Co-Chairs Rep. Mark Pocan and Rep. Pramila Jayapal) – This legislation will amend the Insurrection Act, curtailing the Trump’s ability to deploy the military domestically without Congressional consent. It will prevent the President from having unilateral power to declare protesters a threat to society and deploying troops against American citizens for no reason other than to enforce his person principles.
"Rather than sending leading our country with integrity and decency in this tumultuous time, the President has all but declared war on his own citizens,” Rep. Omar said. “Trump threatened to evoke the Insurrection Act, statute that gives him authority to deploy active military members of any branch to intervene in civil unrest. That law is meant to protect the civil rights, having been deployed in the past to intervene when states refused to implement federal desegregation law. But Trump is willing to twist that policy and use it instead to trample civil rights and enforce his own political will.”
Federal Relief Fund –This legislation will create an Emergency Relief Fund specifically for communities trying to rebuild after social and civil rights crises, a fund that cities and businesses can apply to for grants to get them back on their feet. Abandoning those who have faced financial consequences only sets the stage for future conflict.
“We have a moral responsibility to help communities heal economically,” Rep. Omar said. “Minneapolis’s economy has been ravaged. Families are struggling to find places to buy food, local shop owners fear they’ll never been open their doors again, and many workers find themselves without a job to return to. The situation facing our city stems from a long history of discrimination, prejudice and violence in the community. It is no less worthy of federal relief than communities facing natural disasters or the COVID-19 pandemic. But we cannot rely on a Presidential Emergency Declaration to help direct FEMA resources to riot relief. Our current President has proven we cannot depend on such intervention. So Congress must step in.”
Full legislative text will be available in the coming days.