Press Release ● Black Lives Matter
For Immediate Release: 
March 3, 2021
Contact Info: 
Margaret Mulkerrin 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) spoke on the House Floor this evening in support of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this legislation and thank Rep. [Karen] Bass and Members of the Congressional Black Caucus for their leadership last year and again now. I also want to thank Chairman [Jerry] Nadler and the Judiciary Committee for their hard work. I am proud to be an original cosponsor. 

“In June, the House passed this bill because we recognized that something had to change, and change could not wait. When we mournfully say the names ‘George Floyd,’ ‘Breonna Taylor,’ ‘Eric Garner,’ ‘Michael Brown,’ ‘Philando Castile,’ ‘Freddie Gray,’ and too many others to count, we know something must change.

“When we hear about African American parents having to teach their sons how to act during encounters with police so that they, too, don’t become victims, something must change. And when we feel the energy of many millions of Americans – of every race, every faith, and every age – taking peacefully to the streets in protest against injustice, we know that change must come now. 

“That’s why the House took action last year, passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. This legislation addresses police chokeholds like the kind that took George Floyd’s life. It addresses no-knock warrants, like the one that led to the tragic and preventable death of Breonna Taylor. And it would condition federal funding and resources to police departments on ending racial profiling – not only in principle but in practice – and their adoption of best practices in police training that help ensure the rights of those who encounter police as well as the safety of all involved. This bill also brings justice closer to victims and their families by facilitating – under appropriate circumstances – their ability to seek civil damages for loss of life or injury. 

“This bill, Mr. Speaker, is not only intended to protect people who encounter police. It is meant to help keep police safe as well and help them do their difficult jobs of keeping their communities safe. I’ve heard from so many law enforcement officials who are deeply concerned about misconduct and racial bias in policing. They want resources to improve officer training and build trust with the communities they serve. Most police officers are good and decent men and women serving with honor, and they want to know that their ranks are free from those who would apply bias and sow mistrust that endangers the safety of them and their colleagues.

“This is just the beginning of a larger effort to reform policing, which will require the Senate and White House to work with us to ensure that victims of misconduct and their families get the justice they deserve while police departments have the support they need to keep our communities safe. Sadly, Mr. Speaker, when we passed this bill last year, the Republican-controlled Senate refused even to consider it. 

“Now, with a Democratic Senate Majority, I hope we can see action taken to enact legislation that will tackle this problem and help save life’s and restore trust in law enforcement. I know that this is a top priority for Senate Democrats as well as for President Biden and Vice President Harris. So, I hope that we will not only see the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act pass the House today but also be signed into law this Congress.”