So what happened in the police van? Are the officers who were in the van cooperating with authorities?
As the list of Black men being killed by police grows at an alarming rate, calls for criminal justice reform, which I support, falls on deaf ears in Congress.
Gray’s death comes as U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) spoke on the House floor last week and expressed his frustration about a crisis in America that has largely been ignored by Congress. I’m glad Johnson used his Capitol Hill bully pulpit to make his case.
“It feels like open season on black men in America and I’m outraged. In fact, all Americans are at risk when bad actors in law enforcement use their guns instead of their heads,” Johnson said. “Despite bipartisan nationwide calls for action and despite my bills to reform the broken grand jury process, hold police accountable, and end militarization. And despite my colleagues’ bills to encourage body cameras, this Congress does nothing, no hearings, no blue ribbon commissions, no nothing.”
Johnson also read the names of Black Americans who have been killed by police, including that of Walter Scott, who was fatally shot as he ran away from a police officer two weeks ago.
“Mr. Gray’s death is a grim reminder of the urgent need for criminal justice reform,” Cornell Brooks, President of the NAACP, said in a statement. “This latest tragedy raises deeply troubling questions about police brutality, accountability and the excessive use of force.”
Sadly, Freddie Gray’s family will bury Gray this week without fully knowing the circumstances surrounding his death. And while investigators sort through the details of this tragedy, Congress continues to dismiss this crisis in policing simply because it doesn’t involve their children.
What do you think?