tv Congressional Black Caucus on Ferguson CSPAN December 7, 2014 12:45pm-2:01pm EST
it is a very emotional, divisive issue that i hope we can resolve in the congress. i can tell you this committee and i think the ranking member feels the same way, we are committed to passing in the next congress a border security bill and we look forward to working with you on that. >> thank you. this hearing stands adjourned. >> the senate is not planning to take up the bill the republican-led house brought thursday. considering the effort against the white house immigration action in a spending
bill being brought up this week to fund the federal government. most of the government will be funded in none -- in a bill omnibus. the hill writes that the homeland security department will be kept on a shorter leash funded with a short-term continuous resolution that would keep the money flowing only until february. the combination is being called cromnibus. republicans will control both chambers of congress. house appropriations committee chairman hal rogers said legislation will be unveiled on monday, setting up a likely house vote on wednesday, one day before the money runs out for the government. tomorrow andback members will debate a number of mainly post offices and
courthouses, and child relief to california. majority leader harry reid has said that the chamber will work later this week on federal spending before the december 11 deadline. also, 2015 defense program and taxbill to expand house breaks. >> monday night on "the communicators," kim better on what she calls the world's first digital weapon, a computer virus . really sophisticated. the most unique thing is that this was a virus designed to physically destroy something. in the past, where we saw malware that stole passwords and credit card numbers, things like that, we have not seen anything that those -- that was designed
to physically destroy. that was the first thing. other than that, it was very sophisticated. increase anded to slow the speed of the centrifuges. but while it was doing that, it also did this remarkable trick, which was to make the operators of the plant think that the operations work when normal. it recorded normal activity on the computer's first and then it played back that normal activity to the monitoring machine. >> members of the black caucus came to the floor to talk about the events in ferguson, missouri and race in the u.s..
jeffries: hands up, don't shoot. it's a rallying cry of people all across america who are fed .p with police violence in community after community after community. fed up with police violence in rguson in brooklyn, in cleveland, in oakland, in cities and counties and rural communities all across america. and so tonight, the c.b.c. will stand on the floor of the house of representatives and for the next of minutes speak on the -- for the next 60 minutes, speak on the top exof black in america. what does ferguson say about where we are and where we need
to go? people are fed up all across america because of the injustice involved in continuing to see young, unarmed african-american of a lled as a result gunshot fired by a law enforcement officer. people in america are fed up with a broken criminal justice totem that continues to fail deliver accountability when law enforcement officers engage in the excessive use of police force. people are fed up with prosecutors who don't take seriously their obligation to deliver justice on behalf of the
victims of police violence. instead, as we recently saw down in ferguson, missouri, choose to act as a defense attorney for the law enforcement officer who pulled the trigger and killed michael brown. people are fed up. this is a problem that congress can't run away from and the c.b.c. stands here today to make sure that congress runs toward the problem. that we come up with constructive solutions to breaking this cycle, this epidemic, this scourge of police violence all across america. so i'm pleased today that we've been joined by several of our distinguished colleagues, including the chair of the congressional black caucus who for the last two years has led the charge on behalf of the c.b.c. in dealing with issues of
social and racial and economic justice, i'm proud to serve under her, i'm proud that she's on the floor today, we're thankful for her service, and let me now yield to the distinguished gentlelady from cleveland, congresswoman marcia fudge. ms. fudge: thank you very, very much. i thank you, congressman jeffries, for leading the congressional black caucus special order hour for the 113th congress, for your weekly advice, your weekly message, i thank you. we owe you a debt of gratitude. it is a pleasure to have worked with you for the last two years. mr. speaker, we are running out of patience. last week, the nation waited and hoped that justice would finally be served in the case of michael brown. we waited to hear our country say loud and clear, there are cons agains for taking the lives of others. we waited to hear some
reassurance that black and brown boys' lives do matter. but again, we are terribly disappointed and discouraged. the ferguson grand jury's decision not to indict officer wilson was another slap in our face. it was a painful reminder that just like with trayvon martin and so many others that law enforcement officers feel that our -- kill black and brown boys without repercussions. while some see it as the system working as it should, others see it as a blatant miscarriage of justice. where is the closure for michael brown's parents? for the he closure outrage of the black community? that we remain mired in racial
issues in 2014 is an embarrassment. we should consider taking a long look in the mirror before we go to other countries lecturing them about the need for democracy in politics, when here at home we are unable to fully address our own issues. mr. speaker, the house is not in order. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is correct. the house will be in order. please proceed. ms. fudge: if we are to learn anything from the tragic death of michael brown, we must first acknowledge that we have a race issue we are not addressing. we must have open, honest, transparent conversations about prejudice, racism and racial threats. we must also lead conversations with law enforcement about transparency, accountability and police and community -- and community policing. i want to thank the president today for once again putting a focus on the need for community policing in our country. mr. speaker, all lives have value. as members of congress it is our
responsibility to clearly communicate this message to our voters, our constituents, and our neighbors. mr. speaker, enough is enough. i yield back. mr. jeffries: i thank the chair for her eloquent remarks. people have asked all over the country, in some corners, perhaps in congress and this city, why are people upset? well, you had an unarmed dividual, michael brown, who had no criminal record, just graduated from high school, on his way to college, killed in what appears to be the excessive lieof police force, left to in the hot august sun for 4 1/2 hours. the immediate response by the police chief is to engage in character assassination of the deceased while refusing to release the name of the officer
who pulled the trigger. the ferguson police department responds as if this was a military campaign on foreign soil, not in an american city. the prosecutor decides to get involved and does a document dump. doesn't engage in responsible prosecutorial behavior, fails to ask for specific charge. allows the officer to testify unabated, doesn't point out inconsistencies between his initial telling of the events on that fateful day and what he said before the grand jury. and then announces all of this late at night and behaves as if he was the defense attorney for darren wilson. why are people upset? those are just a few of the reasons. it's my honor to yield time now to the distinguished delegate from the district of columbia,
representative eleanor holmes norton. ms. norton: i want to thank my good friend for his leadership this evening, it's the kind of leadership he has provided since he has come to the congress and for the critique he has just offered. but i come to the floor this afternoon to try to convert that critique into an understanding of the big picture. demonstrations have been going on even though we're days away from when the indictment did not come down. why in a country where you haven't seen demonstrations a-- you have been seeing demonstrations across the united states for some time, why have demonstrations of young people broken out all across america? there is a message here that comes from the demonstrations
and from the words of the parents of michael brown. his father pleaded that michael brown not have died in vain. people in the streets are there to see that michael brown has not died in vain. that proximate cause once again becomes color blind. to see that when a young black is os into the street, he not consistently and constantly profiled because of the color of his skin. that emonstrations show and issue, detention stopping of black men, especially black men, in the
streets, has been simmering below the surface. until this tragedy became a way for it to find an outlet. the provocative stop in the streets, eric holder, a former u.s. attorney, now the attorney general of the united states, has been stopped in the streets of the nation's capital and i say to my friends, this is a progressive city. i cannot imagine what it must be like across the united states. a young black man in st. louis held up a poster which is all about the big picture. it said, we are all mike brown. when my son go into the street, he is michael brown. we want america so that when he
go into the street he's like everybody else until he does something wrong and there's proximate cause to show it. that does not occur in any city, in any small hamlet of the united states today, and so yes, this great tragedy has become a vehicle to express that grievance. there are things that can be done, the president has just come forward with a request for n appropriation for cameras, $260 million. they work. we have found that when police have body cameras, they protect the police as well as protect members of the public. so as we come to grips with the fact that there was no bill new york indictment, i hope we will not lose our focus on the big picture that we are in essence
sending a message to police departments all over the united states, even though you think you may not be doing it, what we're talking about is endemic throughout the united states. people are laying down in peaceful protest, yes, they're blocking the streets, when i was a youngster in the civil rights movement, we tried not to inconvenience people but this is a whole different day and they never-before-seen draw the attention of the entire public nd yes, of police around the united states, to just how much of a festering sore this has been. so i thank my good friend from new york for leading this special order, i thank the chair of the congressional black caucus for leading us off tonight, and in the spirit of michael brown's father, who asked that his son not have died in vain, let us make sure that we support the president's
request for pilot programs for body cameras, that you send that message back home to your police departments and we work together to make proximate cause color blind. i thank my good friend from new york. mr. jeffries: we're here as a members of the congressional a black caucus to have an open, honest and direct dialogue with america. and in a democracy, there has to be a balance between effective law enforcement on the one hand and a healthy respect for the constitution and the civil rights of others, particularly african-americans, on the other. if we're honest, we haven't gotten that balance right. and as a result we see young, unarmed, innocent african-american men gunned down in city after city in america and we're here to say enough is enough.
i'm pleased now to yield to someone who has served this institution incredibly well as a member of congress, served the country well as a member of the military, the lion of lennox avenue, the distinguished gentleman from the great state of new york, and the village of harlem, representative charlie rangel. mr. rangel: i never felt more proud of my colleague from new york for the great leadership that he's provided since his arrival in this august body. this is such a great country and i love it so much. i was raised in the shadow of the statue of liberty and when i graduated from law school, having been the only one in my
family having gone to college, i think my mother said, thank you, jesus, and i said something like thanks for the constitution and thanks for being born in america. like anything else you love, if there's an illness, if there's a problem, you would want to know what can you do to cure it? how can you make it all that our country can be? how can we say that we have a cancer until we recognize that then we don't really love our country? how can we be able to say that white and black in this country are equal and that those who work hard and live by the rules have the same opportunities as each other when we know that we have this cancer that sometimes we're able to make the country
do a lot better than it has since our people were the only ones that were actually brought here in chains, but i marched from selma to montgomery and things that i never had the opportunity to dream because equality never was on the list in my community. but if as a result of this i've been able to live long enough to see african-american men and women be elected to local and state offices around this untry, to come here and join with nine african-american embers of congress in 1970 and to walk tall and know that in that short period of time we've grown to over 40, 45 members of congress, does that mean that
we've rid ourselves of the cancer? i think not. and how can we do it? by admitting that we do have that problem. because whether we're talking bout ferguson or harlem or somewhere else, until we admit that we have this illness and we have this problem, then singling out the success of ome of us in this country does not heal the wounds that have been left through the centuries f racial hatred and prejudice. we've been able to say we were freed by the emancipation proclamation, but the truth of the matter is, our people have been enslave -- in slavery more than we've been so-called free people. and the fact that they said that you were no longer a slave didn't mean that you were an american, with all the rights and the privileges of it.
and it hasn't been that long that i can remember my grandfather from virginia talking about innocent people being lynched in virginia. and it hasn't been that long that our people have been granted the constitutional right to what? to vote. and it hasn't been that long ago that -- even said that our schools should be desegregated or the military desegregated. d until we reach the point that african-american parents don't have to tell their kids to act differently just because of their color, that they have to succumb to the type of conduct that you teach on one hand be a man and stand up for your rights, but if he's in uniform, then beg and plead and don't move, don't say anything that might irritate him -- i
think, i really believe that the people who unconsciously don't know and don't care about the heavy weight that black folks have carried in this country over the centuries that they were brought here cannot possibly love the country as much as they would if they say it was not a ferguson problem. it's an american problem. and they should be able to ask, what is it that they could do? and i would humbly suggest the first thing you do is to acknowledge, acknowledge that you have that problem. me people may talk about payment for restitution for past crimes committed against human beings. but that restitution could be
the ability to say that we're going to make certain that people of color in this country would be able to have access to the same type of education, live where they want to live, compete against anybody for the job and not feeling that they're inferior because people have been taught that just because they have a different complexion that they are superior. and they take that because they were born on third base, that just being born means they can hit a home run. fact is that all of us collectively would know that whether you're black or brown or yellow, whatever the complexion is, that the greatest benefit and asset that we have as a nation is that we bring in all of these cultures
together to build the greatest nation on earth. we have ferguson in another 10 or 20 years, it doesn't have to be. what has to be is that we cut this poison out of the system of this great country and openly say that we have this problem and then, as the parents and mr. brown would want, that death would have been just another sacrifice that one of us has made to wake up this wonderful country to do what has to be done. so let me thank you for constantly reminding us that we've come a long, long way from how we got here, but we have a long way to go. thank you so much. mr. jeffries: i thank the distinguished gentleman from new york for his always eloquent and poignant observations. let me now yield to one of my
dynamic colleagues on the judiciary committee, the distinguished gentleman from texas, representative sheila jackson lee. ms. jackson lee: allow me to add my appreciation for the continued leadership of my friend and colleague from new york and to thank the previous speakers. we all associate ourselves with the passion, the commitment, the determination that has been expressed. but let me, as i stand, acknowledge that i am particularly pleased to be associated with distinguished legislators. many people in this nation have their particular roles as pastors and civil rights leaders. and in a meeting held right before the thanksgiving holiday, members of the congressional black caucus were reminded of the giant role that they have played over the years in combining passion with legislation. hearings with pain. as early as the 1990's we held
hearings on the questions of excessive force, as well as the issues of racial profiling along the highways of america. the issue of excessive sentencing in the crack cocaine disparities. the issue of dealing with the overincarceration of minorities and the overfilling of jails. today, mr. speaker, i rise to ead to my colleagues, we are legislators. we cannot legislate without the partnership of republicans. and so i stand as a democrat and a member of the congressional black caucus that has always been cited as the conscience of america to say hat we need to work in step on the conspicuous achilles heels of america. that is, the criminal justice system. as we stand here today, every one of us has applauded a police officer, has mourned at their passing in the line of duty, has given them awards,
has stood alongside of them, every one of us and certainly i will not take a back seat to anyone on my respect for law enforcement across the gamut. i recognize that they are here to protect and serve. and i think it is very crucial that our friends in law enforcement recognize the work that members of the congressional black caucus have done, if not individually but collectively. let me say that i also admire the young st. louis rams players who raised their hands, to be able to share in the dignity of those young peaceful protesters. if we don't affirm nonviolence, then who will? and i think everyone, law enforcement and others, who agree or disagree should recognize young people like the ones in houston, texas, don't shoot. that does not in any way denigrate or disrespect our law enforcement officers. so for just a few minutes i want to speak about that aspect
and how we see the justice system. to my colleagues, this is 2,500 pages. those documents issued by the d.a. in st. louis county were 10,000 pages. i am continuing to grow this stack. it is clear that what happened in the grand jury system for many who don't know that system, those individuals are appointed by a judge. a single judge says, who do i know in the community? let me see if i can appoint 12 of them. in st. louis county, it took nine to indict. and if you listen to new york state chief judge who famously remarked that a prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to indict a ham sand witch. when i served on the municipal court, there were many probable cause hear thags we held and many efforts by police officers to get a warrant to be able to
go when they thought there was suspicion of a crime. we worked with law enforcement officers. in fact, data says according to the bureau of justice statistics, u.s. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010, the most recent year for which we have data. grand juries declined to return an indictment in 11. that's federal, that's not the state of missouri, but i can assure you it is comparable. so what happened in missouri when it relates to the justice system, the criminal justice system? first of all, a grand jury system is not a jury of your peers. a grand jury indictment is not a conviction it. would not have meant, if there is an indictment, that the officer in question was convicted. it would simply mean that we would transition to the jury system and we'd be able to address the question of michael brown's rights. for michael brown was protected under the constitution, the first amendment not only talks about freedom of religion and speech, it talks about the
rights of association and the right of movement. michael brown, an 18-year-old big boy, as his mom and dad lovingly called him, had a right to move, had a right to move on the streets of america. but he was denied that right. he was denied that right with seven shots. and so there has to be a question, no one would deny that there is a reason to have a full trial and the question would be, why didn't the st. louis district attorney act like many other district attorneys? and i know there are some who were in that role here in this particular floor tonight, which is presenting a case and let the jury ultimately decide and the facts and the grand jury, evidence that a question remained. let me say these few points as i close. i am a supporter of the executive order of the president
with body cams, but we need a broad view of what we're going to do in this situation. as i indicated to you a grand jury is something different from peers. by jury of your i would say what happened in st. louis was not the way that the rocess usually goes. on a grand jury, you needed nine and unfortunately the configuration of that jury made it very unclear that there was not going to be an indictment. so today i think it is very important that we address federal question -- several questions. we need to look at the grand jury system across the nation. we need to look at it in the me of shawn bell, abadu, trayvon martin, a civilian, michael brown, and the
12-year-old boy. we need to look at it from the perspective of why isn't community-oriented policing used? why wasn't it used in ferguson? under the urban justice act this i introduced, communities that rely on fines and other means of funding their government, their federal funding should be diminished accordingly. if their whole base of living and funding is just to stop people along the street. i said racial profiling, the expanding of civil review boards, the increasing of diversity which is being tried, unfortunately, a little late in ferguson, the use of conserve -- conservatorships, of taking over police departments until they get it right and educational reformation in teaching our young boys, our minority boys, along with things like my brother's keeper. to my colleagues today, this is only the beginning. i believe as martin king said, where do we go from here? it is imperative that
legislation joined with ompassion. it should be not only democrats or members of the congressional black caucus, we want partners, realize that the justice system as it penetrate into local communities must be enhanced or reformed. how long can we tolerate the shooting down of children in our streets? it has nothing to do with respect or lack of respect from law enforcement. from the levels of the f.b.i. to d.a. to a.t.f. to local constables and sheriffs. tonight my question is, where do we go from here. it's a reformation of the jury system. the special prosecutor should have been the roult in missouri and i would hope we would look to legislative fixes with our colleagues to make america better. the congressional black caucus will not be silenced. those of white house serve on the respective jurisdictional committees will not be silenced because america is better than
this, a country that we love. where do we go from here? we must fix it and fix it now. i yield back to the gentleman. mr. jeffries: i thank the gentlelady from texas for lending her powerful voice to this issue. we want a fair, impartial, color blind criminal justice system. but if we're honest with ourselves that doesn't exist for all americans today. and that undermines the integrity of our democracy. that's not just a black problem, or a white problem, or a democratic problem, or a republican problem. that's an american problem. and that's why the congressional black caucus stands on the house floor here today to jump start, not just a discussion, but a march toward making meaningful progress as we move forward perfecting this great union. it's my honor and privilege to now yield to my good friend and colleague from the great state of new york, someone who himself is a former prosecutor, and who
has been involved in the fight for social and racial justice during his tremendous tenure here in the united states congress. let me yield to the distinguished gentleman from new york city, the borough of queens, congressman gregory meeks. mr. meeks: thank you. i want to thank my friend and colleague, great attorney, great legislator, for leading this discussion this evening, for not only here on the floor of the house of representatives but what you do every day. in fact, it's an example of what we can follow, how you lead in your district, especially in brooklyn, rallying around, as i will talk about later, when you saw a prosecutor not do his job, you were one that led in brooklyn to say the people were getting people's -- will get a people's prosecutor and folks went to the polls, when someone said it couldn't be done, you led and helped make it happen
where an incumbent forgot his way and was not representing the people, you helped people get together and go to the polls and have a new prosecutor in brooklyn to move forward. we thank you for that leadership. today we talk about black in america. what ferguson says about where we are and where we need to go. now, as congressman jeffries has said, i'm a former prosecutor, i know about the grand jury system. and i know the failure of the grand jury process as directed or as some would argue, prosecutor to the indict officer wilson in the shooting ground of michael brown jr., an unarmed ferguson, missouri, teenager, undermines
public confidence and the very notion of equal administration of justice. now, when you go before the grand jury, all you have to show is that there is proximate cause , is probable cause, probable cause, the lowest standard there is, that a crime was committed. and when you see the process that this prosecutor went through, he tried to try a case. came in with a preconceived thought that he did not want an indictment here. for i don't know of any prosecutors that go into the grand jury and don't at least after it's all done ask for an indictment.
he never asked for an indictment. in this case. so the tragic circumstances in ferguson and other unfortunate instances around the country have sparked a movement for justice, equality, and change that i believe is critical to the communities affected by ms. carriages of justice. -- by miscarriages of justice. but this movement is not just for those communities. indeed, the united states of america needs this movement. this is as others have said an american problem. as dr. martin luther king jr. once said, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. racial disparities of any kind are troubling for our entire nation. and so though we've elected president barack obama here in
the united states, i heard some say we were in a post-racial america. no. we are not. for racism is still alive and well in the united states. of america. -- in the united states of america. we've got work to do. so where do we go? this movement with its courageous contingent of young activists is quickly learning, adapting, applying, and innovating on the most effective methods and models of the civil rights movements of previous generations. as this movement continues to grow and takes every opportunity to focus its demands, expand its outreach, develop its activists in the discipline of peaceful, direct action, and deepen its understanding of how to apply mass pressure on policymakers,
it will cascade not simply to interrupt businesses as usual, but to generate electoral participation on levels unseen in generations. this movement has the potential to transform the tragedy in ferguson into a historic turning point in the centuries-long struggle for freedom, justice, and equality. the congressional black caucus is part of this moment and part of this movement. tens of thousands of federal, state, and local elected officials, civic leaders, civil rights organizations, activists, clergies, lawyers, educators, artists, athletes, business owners, and hundreds of thousands if not millions of ordinary working people of all ages from all over america are part of this movement. so now is the time for america
to come together to reform police practices, redress patterns of racial disparities in the justice system and hold police accountable for the use of excessive force, especially deadly force. now is the time to match nonviolent direct action with meaningful legislative and administrative action. now is the time for the federal government to act, for congress to act, for courts to act, for state legislatetures to act. r country -- legislatures to act, for county and other governments to act. now is the time, my friends, to register to vote, because soon, very soon, it will be time to act at the ballot boxes. only then will these voices be truly heard and every -- in every corner of every county and throughout this country. and then the world would know
that unwarranted violence and abuse of power has no home in america. injustice has no seat in our democratic institution and only then will we honor the sacrifice of those who have paid the ultimate price and begin to heal a nation of men who -- of many who aspire to become one. yes, indeed, we have come a long way. but yes, indeed, we have a long, long, long way to go. thank you for your time. mr. jeffries: i thank my good friend, the distinguished gentleman from new york, for his very eloquent and thoughtful remarks, as always. now it's my honor and privilege to yield to the great civil rights leader, former judge, and distinguished gentleman from the great state of texas, representative al green. mr. green: thank you very much. i thank the speaker as well. i want to make mention of mr.
horsford, he is not here tonight, but i always associate him with mr. jeffries. they have been a great dynamic duo and they have done outstanding work with these special order hours. in his absence, i want to let him know we still greatly appreciate him and miss him. mr. speaker, i had a john carlos moment. for edification purposes, john carlos was the athlete at the 1968 olympics who went to the podium along with tommy smith and raised his hand in what was called at that time a black power salute. at that time, much was said about john carlos and tommy smith, many people criticized them for taking the podium and for making this gesture. they were said to be outside of the mainstream.
but i believe that history has vindicated them. because they were a part of the avant-garde. they actually were cause manage people to understand that the black -- causing many people to understand that the black power movement at that time was much bigger than many thought. i had a john carlos moment because i saw this clip where the rams players came into the arena, hands up, don't shoot. it was a john carlos moment because this has become the new symbol, a new statement, a statement wherein people around the country now are calling to the attention of those who don't quite understand that this is a movement that will not dissipate. it will not evaporate. it's a movement that is going to continue because young people, a new generation, has decided that
they're going to engage themselves in the liberation movement, the freedom movement if you will, the continuation of what happened in 1968 with john carlos and tommy smith. i want to make sure that those who participated on the rams team, that their names are chronicled in history. i want people who look back through the time to know who they were when they search the congressional record so i want to add their names to this record. . i want kenny brit to be recognized. tayvon austin to be recognized. steadyman bailey to be recognized. jared cook. craig gibbons. and tray mayson. these are persons who in the years to come will be acknowledged as a part of the avant-garde.
and i want people to know also that i appreciate and support what the president is doing with his executive action. i support what he's doing with body cameras. and i support what he's doing with body cameras because i believe that body cameras can exonerate and they can as well incountry -- incriminate. they can exonerate officers who are falsely accused. they can provide empirical evidence of what actually transpired. there won't be he said or she said. there will be the empirical evidence of what the camera actually saw. they can also incriminate those who would try to perpetrate a fraud upon the american people. body cameras can identify those who would engage in criminal conduct and then try to excuse their conduct with words that don't match what the camera
will reveal. i believe in body cameras. this is why i have filed h.r. 5 407, the tip act, transparency in policing. the i.p. act would cause justice department to examine the circumstance in this country, the cost for body cameras, and would then allow those jurisdictions that cannot afford to incorporate body cameras into their police departments, there would be an exemption for that. but would require those generally speaking who receive federal dollars to move to body cameras. i regret that we are getting to point now where we are getting it right after the fact. we shouldn't get it right after the fact. this is what's happening in ferguson. after the fact ferguson is moving to body cameras. but we don't need another
ferguson. there are other communities around the country where after the fact they are moving to body cameras. we don't need to have an injustice take place before we move to a just circumstance and incorporate these body cameras. my hope is that we will follow the president's lead, that we will incorporate body cameras into police departments across the length and breadth, the scope of this country, if you will. but i also pray that this bill, h.r. 5407, will get a hearing. it is overwhelmingly supported by members of the c.b.c., as well as others. it is not a c.b.c. initiative, but it is supported overwhelmingly by the c.b.c. my hope is that this bill will get a fair hearing, because we should not get it right after the fact. we should have an opportunity to get -- to eliminate a lot of what we see as a confusion and chaos. we need not continue to add fuel to the flame of confusion.
that flame can be eliminated if we but only had these body cameras. they're not a cure-all, they're not a panacea. but they are a positive step in the right direction. i absolute the president and thank him for what -- salute the president and thank him for what he's doing and a i pray we get a fair hearing on h.r. 5407. god bless you, brother, and i hope you continue to do what you're doing on the floor of the house. mr. jeffries: thank you. it's now my honor and privilege to yield time, mr. chair, how much time do we have remaining? the speaker pro tempore: approximately 14 minutes are remaining. mr. jeffries: let me now yield to my good friend, the distinguished congresswoman who represents the neighboring district at home in brooklyn, she's a fighter for justice, a voice for the voiceless, and it's now my privilege to yield to congresswoman yvette clarke. ms. clarke: hands up, don't shoot.
i thank my colleague and friend, mr. jeffries of brooklyn new yorker for his tremendous leadership both -- from brooklyn, new york, for his tremendous leadership both here in washington, d.c., and in new york. i rise to join my colleagues in the congressional a black caucus to discuss being black in america and what the injustice in ferguson, missouri, says about where we are and where we need to go as a civil society. i first want to once again offer my condolences to the family of michael brown whose efforts to secure justice on behalf of their son were undermined by the decision of the grand jury. the killing of michael brown and aa tacks by the ferguson -- and attacks by the ferguson police department on protesters demonstrate an assumption that young women and men who are african-american are inherently suspicious, a false assumption with deadly consequences. so where do we go from here?
we must not allow this false assumption to prevail in our nation in our society. we cannot and will not accept the deval situation of african-american -- deval situation of after a can -- devaluation of after a can american lives. in my hometown in brooklyn, new york, where we are still reeling from the recent killing an unarm aed young man shot by a probation -- unarmed young man shot by a probation ary city police officer, this killing on the heels of the homicide by a choke-hold of eric garner on statin island, again in new york city. mr. speaker, it's deeply disappointing that as we observe the 50th anniversary of the civil rights act of 1964 we are still trying to fulfill the promise of the 14th amendment, of equal protection under the
law, while the civil rights act of 1964 transformed our nation by prohibiting discrimination based on race, religion, color, sex and national origin at work, in schools and in other public facilities, we still must transform the perceptions, vices and a prejudices -- biases and prejudices that some people still carry with them like luggage from generations past. the incidents in ferguson and cities across this nation reminds us that communities that have been disproportionately and unjustly targeted by police departments demand recognition of their humanity. young people of color refuse to live in a democratic society, in a state of fear, and we have an obligation as a nation to rid ourselves of the scourge of racially biased state-sanctioned terrorism.
i fully support the steps announced today by the obama administration to strengthen community policing and fortify the trust that must exist between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve. i've been a vocal advocate for better relations between the community and law enforcement community. given the police officer's sole mission is to serve and protect the people with dignity, integrity and respect, we must focus on achieving that mission. i pledge to work with my constituents, the obama administration, my colleagues and officials across this country, especially in new york city, to restore public trust and to establish a more enlightened policing strategy and to prevent surge incidents in the future. so again i'd like to thank mr. jeffries for his leadership. i want to thank the c.b.c., the
conscience of the congress, for holding this timely special order. to all americans who are disturbed by the demonstrations that are taking place across this nation, i want you to remember these four words. no justice, no peace. and i yield back. mr. jeffries: thank you, congresswoman clarke. mr. speaker, the man in brooklyn did not deserve to die. tamir rice in cleveland did not deserve to die. michael brown in ferguson did not deserve to die. the congressional black caucus is determined to make sure that these and many other deaths at the hands of law enforcement resulting from the use of excessive force will not be in vain. it's now my honor and my privilege to yield to one of the mighty voices of the hip-hop generation here in the united states, who powerfully represents his midwestern district, the distinguished
gentleman from the great state of indiana, congressman andre carson. mr. carson: thank you very much. i have to acknowledge my colleague, my friend, my rother and leader not only nationwide and internationally, but especially of brooklyn for his boldness, his tenacity, mr. speaker, his intestinal fortitude and his ability as a city member of congress to still speak truth to power, congressman jeff rills. mr. speaker, i rise tonight -- jeffries. mr. speaker, i rise today to -- tonight to express my deepest con domences to the brown if -- condolences to the brown family who lost their son far too soon. as a parent, i can only imagine their pain and grief, mr. speaker. no parent should have to go
through such an ordeal. as a young an african-american man, i can relate to the frustration being felt on the streets of ferguson and streets across our country. the history of this great nation, mr. speaker, past and with t is plagued incidents of bigotry and discrimination in our justice system. racial injustice continues to afflict our communities and with each incident like this ne, old wounds are reopened. he feeling felt in ferguson is real and cannot, should not be
discounted. mr. speaker, many right now feel abandoned by our justice singled out irly for suspicion. these are very legitimate concerns that cannot be ignored or overshadowed by those who have turned to violence. as a former police officer, mr. speaker, i want to say i do respect our system of justice, but i also recognize its shortcomings. we certainly have a long way to go to guarantee our country's children of color are protected equally under the law. every instance, every neighborhood all across this great nation, mr. speaker, no community should have to doubt whether justice has prevailed when a decision like this one has been handed down. we must not let michael brown's
death be in vain. that would be a disgrace. that would be a tragedy. is still our nation struggling to heal. but this cannot truly happen until we honestly assess how justice is provided across our country. this process starts with peaceful protests, yes. but it ends with lasting reforms that protect all americans equally, mr. speaker. this will not be easy or quick. but what is clear is that this march toward a better, more equitable country must begin with a unified front. through this tragedy we should bring about lasting change and so tonight on that note i want
to ask, mr. speaker, all of my colleagues, my fellow americans, to stand with the congressional black caucus to make this dream a reality. mr. speaker, i yield back. mr. jeffries: i thank the distinguished gentleman for his eloquent remarks. let me now yield to the distinguished gentleman from maryland, the great aline of scrimmagea cummings -- elijah cummings. mr. cummings: thank you very much. i want to thank mr. jeffries for calling this special order tonight. and let me say to america, whenever law enforcement officers -- a law enforcement officer shoots and kills an unarmed citizen in this great country, america has a problem. and i want us to be very careful that we don't become distracted and not address the issues. and i know that we in the congressional black caucus make sure that we don't get involved in motion, commotion, emotion
and no results. and that's what this is all about. because the things that we're talking about is trying to bring about change, not just for our young people today, but for generations yet unborn. and so let me just briefly state that i'm very pleased with what the president did today. i think it's a step this the right direction -- a step in the right direction. the effort to get body cameras, 50,000 of them, to establish a task force. ight i along with 100 other leaders wrote to the president and we just asked for certain things and i'll yame them and then yield back to the gentleman. we asked d.o.j. develop the training for law enforcement officers to counteract racial bias. and retention among law enforcement professionals.
grants to support youth in the communities that these officers serve. reduction of excessive republicry among community police departments. call for d.o.j. oversight of law enforcement practices. and increase accountability through national standards through investigation into cases of inappropriate behavior. we will continue this fight. and you know, to the brown mily, you have our condolences, but we know you want to make sure that change is brought about. and we promise you that we are going to do everything in our power to do that. and i yield back. mr. jeffries: let me now yield to one of my colleagues in the freshman class, soon to be a dynamic sophomore, the
gentlelady from the great state of ohio, congresswoman joyce beatty. mrs. beatty: mr. speaker, thank you. it is my honor to stand here not only with the congressional members of the black caucus. today, i have a heavy heart. if we stand here ases members of the congressional plaque caucus on the topic, being black in america, what ferguson says where we are and where we need to go. mr. speaker, i would like to express my condolences to the family of michael brown. the gentle giant will not be forgotten nor will what his loss represents. michael brown had a promising future before his life was cut short that saturday afternoon in
august. and i realize my time is probably up. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. jeffries: thank you, mr. speaker. we have come a long way and we look forward to marching toward a more perfect union and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. under the speaker's announced policy of january 3, 2013, the gentleman from texas, mr. gohmert, is recognize dollars r 60 minutes as the designee f the majority leader. mr. gohmert: mr. speaker, there are some people that wanted to be heard and didn't have a chance and i would be glad to ield such time as they need.
be glad to yield. yield to my friend. mr. jeffries: i thank my good friend for yielding a few moments for us to close this very important special order. and let me just yield to congresswoman joyce beatty to finish her remarks as we prepare to conclude this c.b.c. special order. and let me thank congressman gohmert for yielding a few moments of his time. mrs. beatty: thank you to my colleague. let me continue and be very brief with saying, michael brown had a promising future before his life was cut short before his life was cut short. he was supposed to start technical college, planning to be a heating and cooling
engineer one day, hoped to start his own business. strove to set a an example, teaching them to stay in school. instead, another loss. michael brown fell victim to a criminal just tim system that too often fails people of color. unfortunately, he is another black male, whose full promise and potential will never be realized because his life was taken too early by the very department created to protect and serve his community, the ferguson police department. mr. speaker, i think it is appropriate that the congressional black caucus us is on the floor today discussing being plaque in america. and in many circumstances, the conscience of america on issues of race relations, struggles and
inequityies. e are or are our brother's keepers. and today, december 1, we are celebrating the 59th anniversary of rosa parks giving up her seat on a bus in month gentlewoman erie, alabama. her civil disobedience on this day should be celebrated. we see in the majority, a peaceful protest in refusing to give up her seat, she sparked a civil rights movement, a movement highlighted by incremental progress such as the civil rights act of 1964, the voting rights act of 1965. about where a nation came together with eliminating discrimination against blacks and providing equal rights under law. the civil rights movement is
ongoing. a great distrust between local residents and law enforcement remains today. too many young black men are left behind and are seen as objects of fear and we have a pipeline that tears our communities of color apart, leaving them forever incomplete, but as dr. king said, human progress is neither automatic or inevitable. every step towards the goal of justice requires suffering and struggle. the tireless ex ergses and compassionate concerns of dedicated individuals. lastly, mr. speaker, i'm hopeful that initiatives like the president's my brother's keeper, which is implementing cradle to college and programs will allow
us to continue the rosa progress that shell sparked 59 years ago. should we work harder to get people registered to vote? yes. but it takes more than that. this congress should work with the president. and i fully support his request to some 263 million in part equip police officers were cameras. mr. jeffries, mr. speaker. thank you. and i yield back. mr. jeffries: let me thank congressman gohmert for this act of bipartisan. et me yield two minutes to congresswoman robin kelly. mr. kelly: as we re-- >> i offer my prayers to the
family of michael brown and the entire ferguson community. we stand before the house as representatives of our communities and as concerned citizens. we stand here to say we mourn michael brown. we mourn his loss and what it represents. he very real fear. we are here to speak for those who are weary of another young black man killed by police. ferguson speaks to the broader challenges we face, race relations, but the fraught relationship between the black community and the police. members of my family have and do serve in law enforcement. and i'm fortunate that for most of my life, i have been able to have many positive experiences with that community. my grandparents, a grocery store in harlem had officers checking in.
those who put their lives on the line are good, but doesn't negate the fact that in america today, we still have too many in the plaque community who fear the police or feel disrespected by the police including my son and his friends. and we have too many police officers who fear the black community. this is a dynamic that colors every encounter and paves the way for tragic outcomes. regardless of your perspectives of the events in ferguson we can agree that no community should live in fear. we must hold our law enforcement officials to the highest professional standards and provide them with the training they need to police diverse communities. this training must address the stereotypes and create obstacles to mutual understanding. and we can and must strive twars
a just system that treats all americans fairly and values american lives equally. i'm encouraged by the peaceful protests calling for change in the way our country views and values young black men, but this is the beginning and not enough. a mother and wife and a member of congress, this change must begin today. we must look for ways they can prevent a similar tragedy from happening in your community. don't let this issue fade. get involved with your local government. go to your meetings, know who represents you and who is policing your streets. be a part of the change and lend your voice to the discussion of your community. vote. exercise your right.
demand, expect accountability. that's how we work together community. kind of thank you. mr. jeffries: we are here today to begin a conversation about a fair and equitable and color-blind criminal justice system. that should be something all americans embrace and that's what we are going to walk toward as we move towards the next congress in 2015. to close. i yield one minute to the distinguished congresswoman from texas. ms. jackson lee: i thank mr. jeffries and might i thank the speaker. i'm sorry we were racing across the floor. and we thank you for your clarification and to my good friend on the judiciary committee, judge gohmert, who has engaged in the criminal
justice system. i want to leave two points behind as we clarify how we can move forward and recognize crises but not yet be overcome by such. might i thank the former mayor of new york. i disagree with some of the interpretation of why officers are in the african-american community. a statistic does say in fact hat over 2005 and 2012 a white police officer used deadly force two times a week. there are broader ways of addressing these questions. let me say to you why there is such ire as what happened to michael brown. the grand jury system raises the fact question. why was his hands up and why was he shot these many times. it is a criminal justice system
o matter what, a body by the constitution, you can say a question has been raised and justice needs to answer that question. that is what we are asking for, a simple justice that allows everyone to stand at the table of opportunity, equality and rightness. i would make the argument tonight, we have laid out a road map, whether it is cameras, supporting the president's request for moneys, whether it is legislation dealing with the utilization of tickets and citations and stopping people from moving, whether or not it is my brother's keeper, the judiciary committee along with my colleagues, can raise the constitution and no matter who we are, we can look at those men, st. louis rams, applaud them for their work and law