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Democrats slam Trump, push for law enforcement reform

Senate Democrats called on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to set a vote on law enforcement reform before July 4 as they push their new resolution condemning President Trump for action taken against protesters in Lafayette Park.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer unveiled the resolution earlier Tuesday afternoon, and said Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris would be leading the charge to compile a comprehensive law enforcement reform package.

“It is time that we say that bad cops are bad for good cops. It is time that we say that one should not be subjected to the indignity of being told to get on your knees and put your hands behind your head simply because you are walking while black,” Ms. Harris, California Democrat, said.

The resolution explicitly criticizes Mr. Trump for allowing authorities to clear protesters with “the use of gas and rubber bullets.” It also condemns the violence and looting that has erupted across the country, arguing they are “unlawful, unacceptable and contrary to the purpose of peaceful protests.”

Mr. Booker, New Jersey Democrat, said the resolution — which Mr. Schumer plans to bring to the floor on Monday — was “gently” written and stands as a test for all 100 senators.

“What the president did was make a mockery of our civil rights.” he said, growing emotional. “I’m telling you right now — if Donald Trump wants to gas someone, start right here. If he wants to shoot somebody with our federal officials with rubber bullets, start right here.”

“What he did to those Americans in that square yesterday he did to all of us,” Mr. Booker added.

Many Republicans have been quiet about the incident on Monday either supporting the president or declining to comment, though a few have condemned Mr. Trump.

In an interview with Politico, Sen. Tim Scott, the sole black Republican senator, said the president’s decision was not helpful.

“But obviously, if your question is, should you use tear gas to clear a path so the president can go have a photo-op, the answer is no,” the South Carolina Republican said.

Demonstrators were removed from Lafayette Park using tear gas and flash bangs about a half-hour before a city-wide curfew went into effect.

Mr. Trump walked to the St. John’s Episcopal Church across from the White House, which was damaged by fires earlier this week, after vowing to crack down on the nationwide protests and unrest that sparked after George Floyd, a black man, was killed in Minnesota.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a Purple Heart veteran, condemned the use of helicopters to disperse crowds in D.C. and the president’s threat to use the U.S. military to quell riots breaking out across the country.

“How dare you pervert the honor of our military by threatening to use them against their fellow Americans. I am sickened to the core,” the Illinois Democrat said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday Congress “may have a role” in addressing the issues of police accountability and racial tensions as unrest continues to spur protests across the country.

“This is a vexing issue. If we could have figured out exactly what to do, I think we would have done it years ago,” Mr. McConnell told reporters.

“There is no question that there is residual racism in America,” he added. “It’s been a longtime dilemma and we all wish we could get to a better place.”

The Democrats’ legislation package is still being worked on, though Mr. Booker said it will be unveiled, in “the coming days.” Ms. Duckworth said it will include her bill that would provide incentives for states to revise training policies and create independent prosecutors to investigate claims of excessive force.

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Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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