(NewsNation) — On the heels of the graphic video release showing the police beating of Tyre Nichols, there are renewed calls from both sides of the aisle in Washington to ensure that what happened to Nichols never happens to anyone else.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) says the video of Nichols was “difficult to watch.” She is calling for an investigation and said she and her husband are “praying for the loved ones of Tyre Nichols and for peace in Memphis.”
Newly-elected Congresswoman Summer Lee (D-Pa.), the first Black woman to ever represent the state of Pennsylvania in Congress, says police reform is a start.
“When I think about the dehumanizing effects of a video like this, I think about a mother who I know myself, who is from my own community,” Rep. Lee told CNN.
Rep. Lee believes what really prevents police violence is making communities safer through investment. She says, so far, Congress has failed on that front.
“How do we ensure that Black and Brown schools are being invested in, that these kids have somewhere to go after school, that we’re investing in good jobs, that we’re doing all the work to make communities actually safe,” Rep. Lee said.
Other Democrats in Congress say it’s time to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
The 2021 legislation would make it easier to prosecute officers for gross misconduct, limit “qualified immunity” that shields officers from being sued, create a registry so officers fired for misconduct aren’t hired by different departments and restrict certain police action like no-knock warrants or chokeholds.
Perhaps most notably, it would direct the U.S. Department of Justice to create uniform accreditation standards for law enforcement agencies and require law enforcement officers to complete training on racial profiling, implicit bias and the duty to intervene when another officer uses excessive force.
Illinois Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin says Congress should consider measures to strengthen screening and training and raise the requirements for a person to become an officer.
Sen. Durbin suggested that a full, federal investigation of the Memphis Police Department as a whole might be necessary.
“We’ve got to be very honest about it. There are good policemen risking their lives out there, but there are those who should just not be on the force and aren’t made for the job,” Sen. Durbin said.
Congressman Jim Jordan (R.-Ohio) cautioned against demonizing all police officers for the actions of a few.
“There’s been this defund the police concept out there. There’s been this attack on law enforcement,” Congressman Jordan said, later adding: “We’re not getting enough good people applying because of the disparagement on police officers.”
The Congressional Black Caucus has asked President Joe Biden for a meeting. The White House said last week it is interested in pursuing some type of police reform.