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Senate Judiciary Holds Hearing On Police Use Of Force

Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pictured during a Senate Judiciary hearing on June 11, is holding a hearing on police use of force on Tuesday.
Image credit: Erin Schaff

The Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee is holding its first hearing on policing since the May 25 death of George Floyd, killed in Minneapolis police custody, triggered a wave of protests and a national outcry for reform.

Watch the hearing live beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the panel’s chairman, has said the hearing will include two panels, one on policing in the black community and another comprised of “folks who can tell us about the other side of the story and ways to go forward.” The afternoon hearing is set to cover police use of force and community relations, with nearly a dozen witnesses from civil rights and law enforcement backgrounds.

Some of the Senate hearing’s same witnesses testified last week in a hearing before the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee. Among them, Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, will join the first panel. And Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, who heads up the Major Cities Chiefs Association, will also return to testify, but this time as part of a second panel before the Senate committee.

Other witnesses include St. Paul, Minn., Mayor Melvin Carter; Civil Rights Attorney S. Lee Merritt of Philadelphia; Erin Nealy Cox, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas and the heads of several more police organizations.

The hearing comes as Senate Republicans including Graham move to craft legislation to respond to demands to address police brutality and President Trump moves forward with his own reform measure. House Democrats plan to vote later this month on their new proposal, the Justice In Policing Act, which includes outright bans of no-knock warrants in drug-related cases and the use of choke-holds.

South Carolina’s junior Sen. Tim Scott, the lone African American Republican in the upper chamber, has led the charge to draw up legislation for his caucus. Scott has said his measure won’t include outright bans, but instead focuses on deescalation training to reduce the use of choke-holds, increased use of body cameras and wider federal reporting requirements for police departments across the country.

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