CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS
(House of Representatives - December 01, 2014)

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[Pages H8201-H8206]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                       CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 3, 2013, the gentleman from New York (Mr. Jeffries) is 
recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.


                             General Leave

  Mr. JEFFRIES. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous that all Members be given 
5 days to revise and extend their remarks.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from New York?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. JEFFRIES. Mr. Speaker, ``hands up, don't shoot'' is a rallying 
cry of people all across America who are fed up with police violence in 
community after community after community, fed up with police violence 
in Ferguson, in Brooklyn, in Cleveland, in Oakland, in cities and 
counties and rural communities all across America.
  So tonight the CBC will stand on the floor of the House of 
Representatives and, for the next 60 minutes, speak on the topic, 
``Black in America: What Does Ferguson Say About Where We Are and Where 
We Need to Go?''
  People are fed up all across America because of the injustice 
involved in continuing to see young, unarmed, African American men 
killed as a result of a gunshot fired by a law enforcement officer.
  People in America are fed up with a broken criminal justice system 
that continues to fail to deliver accountability when law enforcement 
officers engage in the excessive use of police force.
  People are fed up with prosecutors who don't take seriously their 
obligation to deliver justice on behalf of the victims of police 
violence, and instead, as we recently saw down in Ferguson, Missouri, 
choose to act as the defense attorney for the law enforcement officer 
who pulled the trigger and killed Michael Brown.
  People are fed up.
  Now, this is a problem that Congress can't run away from, and the CBC 
stands here today to make sure that Congress runs toward the problem, 
that we come up with constructive solutions to breaking this cycle, 
this epidemic, this scourge of police violence all across America.
  So I am pleased today that we have been joined by several of our 
distinguished colleagues, including the chair of the Congressional 
Black Caucus, who, for the last 2 years, has led the charge on behalf 
of the CBC in dealing with issues of social and racial and economic 
justice. I am proud to serve under her. I am proud that she is on the 
floor today. We are thankful for her service.
  Mr. Speaker, let me now yield to the distinguished gentlewoman from 
Cleveland, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge.
  Ms. FUDGE. Thank you very, very much. And I thank you, Congressman 
Jeffries, for leading the Congressional Black Caucus Special Order hour 
for the 113th Congress.
  For your weekly advice, for your weekly message, I thank you. We owe 
you a debt of gratitude. It was a pleasure to have worked with you for 
these last 2 years.
  Mr. Speaker, we are running out of patience. Last week, the Nation 
waited and hoped that justice would finally be served in the case of 
Michael Brown. We waited to hear our country say loud and clear: There 
are consequences for taking the lives of others.
  We waited to hear some reassurance that Black and brown boys' lives 
do matter. But, again, we were terribly disappointed and discouraged.
  The Ferguson grand jury's decision not to indict former Officer 
Darren Wilson was yet another slap in our face. It was a painful 
reminder that, just like with Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice, and so 
many others, law enforcement officers kill our Black and brown men and 
boys without repercussions.
  While some may see the grand jury's decision as the system working as 
it should, others witnessed what we believe was a blatant miscarriage 
of justice.
  Where is the closure for Michael Brown's parents?
  Where is the understanding for the outrage and desperation of the 
Black community?
  The fact that our country, the greatest country in the world, remains 
mired in race relations issues in the year 2014 is an embarrassment. We 
really should consider taking a long look in the mirror before we go to 
other countries lecturing to them about the need for democracy and 
tolerance when, here at home, we are unable to fully address our own 
issues.
  If we are to learn anything from the tragic death of Michael Brown, 
we must first acknowledge that we have a race issue that we are not 
addressing. We must have open, honest, transparent conversations about 
prejudice, racism, and racial threat. We must also lead conversations 
with law enforcement about transparency, accountability, and community 
policing.
  I want to thank the President today for, once again, putting a focus 
on the need for community policing in our country.
  Mr. Speaker, all lives have value. As Members of Congress, it is our 
responsibility to clearly communicate this message to our voters, our 
constituents, and our neighbors.
  Mr. Speaker, enough is enough.
  Mr. JEFFRIES. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chair for her eloquent 
remarks.
  People have asked all over the country, in some quarters, perhaps in 
the Congress, and in the city, why are people upset?
  Well, you had an unarmed individual, Michael Brown, who had no 
criminal record, just graduated from high school, on his way to 
college, killed in what appears to be the excessive use of police 
force, left to lie in the hot August sun for 4\1/2\ hours.
  Immediate response by the police chief is to engage in character 
assassination of the deceased, while refusing to release the name of 
the officer who pulled the trigger.
  The Ferguson Police Department responds as if this was a military 
campaign on foreign soil, not in an American city.
  The prosecutor decides to get involved and does a document dump; 
doesn't engage in responsible prosecutorial behavior; fails to ask for 
a specific charge; allows the officer to testify, unabated; doesn't 
point out inconsistencies between his initial telling of the events of 
that fateful day and what he said before the grand jury; and then 
announces all of this late at night, and behaves as if he was the 
defense attorney for Darren Wilson.
  Why are people upset?
  Those are just a few of the reasons.
  Mr. Speaker, it is my honor to yield to the distinguished delegate 
from the District of Columbia, Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton.
  Ms. NORTON. I want to thank my good friend from New York for his 
leadership this evening--it is the kind of leadership he has provided 
ever since he has come to the Congress--and for the critique he has 
just offered.
  But I come to the floor this afternoon to try to convert that 
critique into an understanding of the big picture. Demonstrations have 
been going on, even though we are days away from the day when the 
indictment did not come down.
  In a country where you haven't seen demonstrations all across the 
United States for some time, why have demonstrations by young people 
broken out all across America?
  There is a message here that comes from the demonstrations and from 
the

[[Page H8202]]

words of the parents of Michael Brown. His father pleaded that Michael 
Brown not have died in vain. The people in the streets are there to see 
that Michael Brown did not die in vain; that probable cause, once 
again, becomes color blind, to see that, when a young Black man goes 
into the street, he is not consistently and constantly profiled because 
of the color of his skin.
  These demonstrations show that issues of detention and stopping of 
Black men, especially Black men in the streets, has been simmering 
below the surface until this tragedy became a way for it to find an 
outlet.
  The provocative stops in the street--Eric Holder, a former U.S. 
Attorney, now the Attorney General of the United States, has been 
stopped in the streets of the Nation's Capitol. And I say to my good 
friends, this is a progressive city. I cannot imagine what it must be 
like across the United States.
  A young Black man in St. Louis held up a poster, which is all about 
the big picture. It said: ``We Are All Mike Brown.''
  When my son goes into the streets, he is Michael Brown. We want an 
America so that when he goes into the street, he is like everybody else 
until he does something wrong and there is probable cause to show it. 
That does not occur in any city, in any small hamlet in the United 
States today, and so, yes, this great tragedy has become a vehicle to 
express that grievance.
  There are things that can be done. The President has just come 
forward with a request for an appropriation for body cameras, a small 
amount, 260-some million dollars. Body cameras work. We have found that 
when police have body cameras, they protect the police as well as 
protecting members of the public.

                              {time}  1930

  So as we come to grips with the fact that there was no bill, no 
indictment, I hope we will not lose our focus on the big picture, that 
we are, in essence, sending a message to police departments all over 
the United States.
  Even though you think you are not doing it, what we are talking about 
is endemic throughout the United States. People are laying down in 
peaceful protest. Yes, they are blocking the streets. I must say, when 
I was a youngster in the civil rights movement, we tried not to 
inconvenience people; but, look, this is a wholly different day, and 
they mean to draw the attention of the entire public and, yes, of 
police around the United States to just how much of a festering sore 
unwarranted stops of people of color have been.
  I thank my good friend from New York for leading this Special Order. 
I thank the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus for leading us off 
tonight.
  In the spirit of Michael Brown's father, who asked that his son not 
have died in vain, let us make sure that we support the President's 
request for a pilot program for providing cameras, that we send the 
message back home to our police departments, and that we work together 
to make probable cause colorblind.
  I thank my good friend from New York.
  Mr. JEFFRIES. I thank the distinguished gentlewoman for her 
observations.
  Mr. Speaker, we are here as members of the Congressional Black Caucus 
to have an open, honest, and direct dialogue with America.
  In a democracy, there has to be a balance between effective law 
enforcement on the one hand and a healthy respect for the Constitution 
and the civil rights of others, particularly of African Americans, on 
the other. If we are honest, we have not gotten that balance right, and 
as a result, we see young, unarmed, innocent African American men being 
gunned down in city after city in America, and we are here to say, 
``Enough is enough.''
  I am pleased now to yield to someone who has served this institution 
incredibly well as a Member of Congress, who has served the country 
well as a member of the military, the lion of Lenox Avenue, the 
distinguished gentleman from the great State of New York and the 
village of Harlem, Representative Charlie Rangel.
  Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Speaker, I have never felt more proud of my colleague 
from New York, for the great leadership that he has provided, since his 
arrival in this august body.
  This is such a great country, and I love it so much. I was raised in 
the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, and when I graduated from law 
school, having been the only one in my family having gone to college, I 
think my mother said, ``Thank you, Jesus,'' and I said something like, 
``Thanks for the Constitution, and thanks for being born in America.''
  Like anything else you love, if there is an illness, if there is a 
problem, you would want to know what can you do to cure it. How can you 
make it all that our country can be? How can we say that we have a 
cancer that, until we recognize that we do, then we don't really love 
the country?
  How can we be able to say that White and Black in this country are 
equal and that those who work hard and live by the rules have the same 
opportunities as each other, when we know that we have this cancer that 
sometimes we are able to make the country do a lot better than it has 
since our people were the only ones who were actually brought here in 
chains?
  I marched from Selma to Montgomery, and things that I never had the 
opportunity to dream--because equality never was on the list in my 
community--but if, as a result of this, I have lived long enough to see 
African American men and women be elected to local and State offices 
around this country, to come here and join with nine African American 
Members of Congress in 1970 and to walk tall and know that, in that 
short period of time, we have grown to over 40, 45 Members of Congress, 
does that mean that we have rid ourselves of the cancer? I think not.
  How can we do it? It is by admitting that we do have that problem 
because, whether we are talking about Ferguson or Watts or Harlem or 
Bed-Stuy, until we admit that we have this illness and that we have 
this problem, then singling out the success of some of us in this 
country does not heal the wounds that have been left through the 
centuries of racial hatred and prejudice.
  We have been able to say we were freed by the Emancipation 
Proclamation, but the truth of the matter is our people have been in 
slavery more than we have been so-called free people, and the fact that 
they said that you are no longer a slave didn't mean that you were an 
American with all the rights and the privileges of it.
  It hasn't been that long that I can remember my grandfather from 
Accomac, Virginia, talking about innocent people being lynched in 
Virginia, and it hasn't been that long that our people have been 
granted the constitutional right to--what--vote, and it hasn't been 
that long ago that they even said that our schools should be 
desegregated or the military desegregated.
  Until we reach the point that African American parents don't have to 
tell their kids to act differently just because of their color, that 
they have to succumb to a type of conduct that you teach them, on one 
hand, to be a man and stand up for your rights, but if he is in 
uniform, then beg and plead and don't say anything that might irritate 
him--I think--I really believe--that the people who unconsciously don't 
know and don't care about the heavy weight that Black folks have 
carried in this country over the centuries that they were brought here 
cannot possibly love the country as much as they would if they were to 
say it was not a Ferguson problem, it is an American problem.
  They should be able to ask what is it that they could do. I would 
humbly suggest that the first thing you do is to acknowledge that you 
have that problem.
  Some people may talk about payment for restitution for past crimes 
committed against human beings, but that restitution could be the 
ability to say that we are going to make certain that people of color 
in this country would be able to have access to the same type of 
education, live where they want to live, compete against anybody for 
the job and not feel that they are inferior because people have been 
taught that, just because they have a different complexion, that they 
are superior, and they think that because they were born on third base 
that just being born means they can hit a home run.
  The fact is that all of us, collectively, would know that, whether 
you

[[Page H8203]]

are black or brown or yellow--or whatever the complexion is--that the 
greatest benefit and asset that we have as a nation is that we bring in 
all of these cultures together to build the greatest Nation on Earth.
  Whether we have another Ferguson in another 10 years or 20 years, it 
doesn't have to be. What has to be is that we cut this poison out of 
the system of this great country and openly say that we have this 
problem, and then, as the parents of Mr. Brown would want, that death 
would have been just another sacrifice that one of us has made to wake 
up this wonderful country to do what has to be done.
  Let me thank you for constantly reminding us that we have come a 
long, long way from how we got here, but we have a long way to go. 
Thank you so much.
  Mr. JEFFRIES. I thank the distinguished gentleman from New York for 
his always eloquent and poignant observations.
  Let me now yield to one of my dynamic colleagues on the Judiciary 
Committee, the distinguished gentlewoman from Texas, Representative 
Sheila Jackson Lee.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Allow me to add my appreciation for the continued 
leadership of my friend and colleague from New York and to thank the 
previous speakers. We all associate ourselves with the passion, the 
commitment, the determination that has been expressed.
  Let me, as I stand, acknowledge that I am particularly pleased to be 
associated with distinguished legislators. Many people in this Nation 
have their particular roles as pastors and as civil rights leaders.
  In a meeting held right before the Thanksgiving holiday, members of 
the Congressional Black Caucus were reminded of the giant role that 
they have played over the years in combining passion with legislation, 
hearings with pain.
  As early as the 1990s, we held hearings on the questions of excessive 
force, as well as of the issues of racial profiling along the highways 
of America; of the issue of excessive sentencing in the crack cocaine 
disparities; of the issue of dealing with the overincarceration of 
minorities and the overfilling of jails.
  Today, Mr. Speaker, I rise to plead to my colleagues. We are 
legislators, and we cannot legislate without the partnership of 
Republicans, so I stand as a Democrat and as a member of the 
Congressional Black Caucus that has always been cited as the conscience 
of America to say that we need to walk in step on the conspicuous 
Achilles heels of America, that is the criminal justice system.
  As we stand here today, every one of us has applauded a police 
officer, has mourned at their passing in the line of duty, has given 
them awards, has stood alongside of them--every one of us.
  Certainly, I will not take a backseat to anyone on my respect for law 
enforcement across the gamut. I recognize that they are here to protect 
and serve, and I think it is very crucial that our friends in law 
enforcement recognize the work that members of the Congressional Black 
Caucus have done, if not individually, then collectively.
  Let me say that I also admire the young St. Louis Rams players who 
raised their hands to be able to share in the dignity of those young, 
peaceful protesters. If we don't affirm nonviolence, then who will?
  I think everyone--law enforcement and others--who agree or disagree 
should recognize young people like the ones in Houston, Texas. ``Don't 
shoot.''
  That does not in any way denigrate or disrespect our law enforcement 
officers. For just a few minutes, I want to speak about that aspect and 
how we see the justice system.
  To my colleagues, this is 2,500 pages. Those documents issued by the 
DA in St. Louis County were 10,000 pages. I am continuing to grow this 
stack. It is clear that what happened in the grand jury system, for 
many who don't know that system, is that those individuals are 
appointed by a judge.
  A single judge says, ``Who do I know in the community? Let me see if 
I can appoint 12 of them.'' In St. Louis County, it took nine to 
indict.
  If you listen to New York State Chief Judge Sol Wachtler, who 
famously remarked that a prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to 
indict a ham sandwich, when I served on the municipal court, there were 
many probable cause hearings that we held, and there were many efforts 
by police officers to get a warrant, to be able to go when they thought 
there was suspicion of a crime. We worked with law enforcement 
officers.
  In fact, the data says, according to the Bureau of Justice 
statistics, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 Federal cases. In 2010, 
which is the most recent year for which we have data, grand juries 
declined to return an indictment in 11. That is Federal. That is not 
the State system in Missouri, but I assure you it is comparable.

                              {time}  1945

  So what happened in Missouri as it relates to the criminal justice 
system?
  First of all, a grand jury system is not a jury of your peers. A 
grand jury indictment is not a conviction. It would not have meant, if 
there was an indictment, that the officer in question was convicted. It 
would simply mean that we would transition to the jury system, and we 
would be able to address the question of Michael Brown's rights, for 
Michael Brown was protected under the Constitution.
  The First Amendment not only talks about freedom of religion and 
speech, it talks about the right of association and the right of 
movement. Michael Brown, an 18-year-old ``big boy,'' as his mom and dad 
lovingly called him, had a right to move, had a right to move on the 
streets of America. But he was denied that right. He was denied that 
right with seven shots.
  So there has to be a question. No one would deny that there is a 
reason to have a full trial, and the question would be: Why didn't the 
St. Louis district attorney act like many other district attorneys?
  I know there are some who are in that role here on this floor 
tonight, which is presenting a case, and let the jury ultimately 
decide. And the facts in the grand jury evidenced that a question 
remains.
  Let me say these two points as I close. I am a supporter of the 
executive order of the President for body cams, and there are many 
legislative initiatives that include that, but we need a broad view of 
what we are going to do in this situation.
  As I indicated to you, a grand jury is something different from a 
trial, a petit jury or a trial by your peers.
  So I would say that what happened in St. Louis was not the way that 
the process usually goes. Mr. McCulloch threw this on the grand jurors. 
And you needed nine--nine. Unfortunately, the configuration of that 
jury made it very unclear that there was not going to be an indictment.
  So today I think it is very important that we address several 
questions. We need to look at the grand jury system here across the 
Nation. We need to look at it in the name of Sean Bell; Amadou Diallo; 
Eric Garner; Robbie Tolan, in my community, where the police officer 
was not indicted; Trayvon Martin, a civilian; Michael Brown; and the 
12-year-old boy. We need to look at it from the perspective of why 
isn't community-oriented policing used? Why wasn't it used in Ferguson?
  Under the Urban Justice Act, which I have introduced, it says that 
communities that rely heavily on fines and other means of funding their 
government, their Federal funding should be diminished accordingly if 
their whole base of living and funding is just to stop people along the 
streets. I said racial profiling; the expanding of civilian review 
boards; the increasing of diversity, which is being tried, 
unfortunately a little late in Ferguson; the use of conservatorships, 
of taking over police departments until they get it right; and last but 
certainly not least, educational reformation in teaching our young 
boys, our minority boys, along with things like My Brother's Keeper.
  To my colleagues today, this is only the beginning. And I believe, as 
Martin King said: Where do we go from here? It is imperative that 
legislation join with compassion, that it not only be Democrats or 
members of the Congressional Black Caucus, but we want partners, 
Republicans who realize that the criminal justice system, as it 
penetrates into local communities, must be enhanced, changed, and 
reformed.
  How long can we tolerate the shooting down of our children in 
streets?

[[Page H8204]]

And it has nothing to do with one's respect or lack of respect for law 
enforcement, from the very high levels of the FBI, DEA, and ATF, to our 
local constables and sheriffs and police officers.
  So tonight my question is: Where do we go from here? The question is 
a reformation of the grand jury system. And I would almost say that a 
special prosecutor should have been the route in Missouri, and I would 
hope that we would look to legislative fixes with our colleagues to 
make America better.
  The Congressional Black Caucus will not be silenced. Those of us who 
serve on the respective jurisdictional committees will not be silenced. 
We will not be silenced because America is better than this, a country 
that we love.
  Where do we go from here? We must fix it, and fix it now.
  Mr. JEFFRIES. I thank the distinguished gentlelady from Texas for 
lending her powerful voice to this issue.
  We want a fair, impartial, and color-blind criminal justice system. 
But if we are honest with ourselves, that doesn't exist for all 
Americans today, and that undermines the integrity of our democracy. 
That is not just a Black problem or a White problem or a Democratic 
problem or a Republican problem. That is an American problem. That is 
why the Congressional Black Caucus stands on the House floor here today 
to jump-start--not just a discussion, but a march toward making 
meaningful progress as we move toward perfecting this great Union.
  It is my honor and my privilege to now yield to my good friend and 
colleague from the great State of New York, someone who, himself, is a 
former prosecutor and who has been involved in the fight for social and 
racial justice during his tremendous tenure here in the United States 
Congress.
  I now yield to the distinguished gentleman from New York City, the 
borough of Queens, Congressman Gregory Meeks.
  Mr. MEEKS. I want to thank my friend and colleague, a great attorney, 
a great legislator, for leading this effort this evening, for not only 
here on the floor of the House of Representatives but for what you do 
every day; and, in fact, it is an example of what we could follow, how 
you lead in your district, especially in Brooklyn.
  Rallying around, as I will talk about later, when you saw a 
prosecutor not do his job, you were one that led in Brooklyn to say the 
people will get a people's prosecutor. And folks went to the polls. 
When someone said it couldn't be done, where you led and helped make it 
happen, where an incumbent forgot his way and was not representing the 
people, you helped people get together to go to the polls and have a 
new prosecutor in Brooklyn to move forward. We thank you for that 
leadership.
  Today we talk about Black in America. What Ferguson says about where 
we are and where we need to go.
  Now, as Congressman Jeffries has said, I am a former prosecutor, so I 
know about the grand jury system. I know the failure of the grand jury 
process directed or, as some would argue, manipulated by county 
prosecutor Robert McCulloch to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson in 
the shooting death of Michael Brown, Jr., an unarmed Ferguson, 
Missouri, teenager, undermines public confidence in the very notion of 
equal administration of justice.
  Now, when you go before a grand jury, all you have to show is that 
there is probable cause--probable cause, the lowest standard there is--
that a crime was committed. And when you see the process that this 
prosecutor went through, he tried to try a case, or he came in with a 
preconceived thought that he did not want an indictment here. I don't 
know of any prosecutors that go into the grand jury and don't at least, 
after it is all done, ask for an indictment. Mr. McCulloch never asked 
for an indictment in this case.

  The tragic circumstances in Ferguson and other unfortunate instances 
around the country have sparked a movement for justice, equality, and 
change that I believe is critical to the communities affected by 
miscarriages of justice. But this movement is not just for those 
communities. Indeed, the United States of America needs this movement. 
As others have said, this is an American problem. As Dr. Martin Luther 
King, Jr., once said, ``Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice 
everywhere.'' Racial disparities of any kind are troubling for our 
entire Nation.
  And so, though we have elected President Barack Obama here in the 
United States, I heard some say that we were in a post-racial America. 
No, we are not. For racism is still alive and well in the United States 
of America. We have got work to do.
  So where do we go?
  This movement, with its courageous contingent of young activists, is 
quickly learning, adapting, applying, and innovating on the most 
effective methods and models of the civil rights movements of previous 
generations. As this movement continues to grow and takes every 
opportunity to focus its demands, expand its outreach, develop its 
activists in the discipline of peaceful direct action, and deepen its 
understanding of how to apply mass pressure on policymakers, it will 
cascade not simply to interrupt business as usual, but to generate 
electoral participation on levels unseen in generations. This movement 
has the potential to transform the tragedy in Ferguson into a historic 
turning point in the centuries-long struggle for freedom, justice, and 
equality.
  The Congressional Black Caucus is part of this moment and is a part 
of this movement. Tens of thousands of Federal, State, and local 
elected officials, civic leaders, civil rights organizations, 
activists, clergies, lawyers, educators, artists, athletes, business 
owners, and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of ordinary working 
people of all ages from all over America are part of this movement.
  So now is the time for America to come together to reform police 
practices, redress patterns of racial disparities in the justice 
system, and to hold police accountable for the use of excessive force, 
especially deadly force. Now is the time to match nonviolent direct 
action with meaningful legislative and administrative action. Now is 
the time for the Federal Government to act, for Congress to act, for 
courts to act, for State legislatures to act, for county and city 
governments to act.
  Now is the time, my friends, to register to vote, because soon, very 
soon, it will be time to act at the ballot boxes. Only then will these 
voices be truly heard in every corner of every county and throughout 
this country. Then the world will know that unwarranted violence and 
abuse of power has no home in America; injustice has no seat in our 
democratic institutions. Only then will we honor the sacrifice of those 
who have paid the ultimate price and begin to heal a Nation of many who 
aspire to become one.
  Yes, indeed, we have come a long way; but yes, indeed, we have a 
long, long, long way to go.
  I thank the gentleman for the time.
  Mr. JEFFRIES. I thank my friend, the distinguished gentleman from New 
York, for his very eloquent and thoughtful remarks, as always.
  And now it is my honor and my privilege to yield to a great civil 
rights leader, a former judge, the distinguished gentleman from the 
great State of Texas, Representative Al Green.
  Mr. AL GREEN of Texas. Thank you very much.
  Mr. Speaker, I wanted mention Mr. Horsford. He is not here tonight, 
but I always associate him with Mr. Jeffries. They have been a great 
dynamic duo. And they have done outstanding work with these Special 
Order hours. In his absence, I want to let him know that we still 
greatly appreciate him and we miss him.
  Mr. Speaker, I had a John Carlos moment. For edification purposes, 
John Carlos was the athlete at the 1968 Olympics who went to the 
podium, along with Tommie Smith, and raised his hand in what was called 
at that time a Black Power salute.
  At that time, much was said about John Carlos and Tommie Smith. Many 
people criticized them for taking the podium and making this gesture. 
They were said to be outside of the mainstream. But I believe that 
history has vindicated them because they were a part of the avant-
garde. They actually were causing many people to understand that the 
Black Power movement at that time was much bigger than many thought.
  I had a John Carlos moment because I saw this clip where the Rams 
players came into the arena: Hands up; don't

[[Page H8205]]

shoot. It was a John Carlos moment because this has become the new 
symbol, a new statement, a statement wherein people around the country 
now are calling to the attention of those who don't quite understand 
that this is a movement that will not dissipate; it will not evaporate.

                              {time}  2000

  It is a movement that is going to continue because young people--a 
new generation--have decided that they are going to engage themselves 
in the liberation movement, the freedom movement, if you will, the 
continuation of what happened in 1968 with John Carlos and Tommy Lee 
Smith.
  I want to make sure that those who participated on the Rams team, 
that their names are chronicled in history. I want people who look back 
through the vista of time to know who they were when they search the 
Congressional Records. So I want to add their names to this Record. I 
want Kenny Britt to be recognized, Tavon Austin to be recognized, 
Stedman Bailey to be recognized, Jared Cook, Chris Givens, and Tre 
Mason. These are persons who in the years to come will be acknowledged 
as a part the avant-garde.
  I want people to know also that I appreciate and support what the 
President is doing with his executive action. I support what he is 
doing with body cameras, and I support what he is doing with body 
cameras because I believe that body cameras can exonerate, and they can 
as well incriminate. They can exonerate officers who are falsely 
accused. They can provide empirical evidence of what actually 
transpired. There won't be ``he said'' or ``she said.'' There will be 
the empirical evidence of what the camera actually saw. They can also 
incriminate those who would try to perpetrate a fraud upon the American 
people. Body cameras can identify those who would engage in criminal 
conduct and then try to excuse their conduct with words that don't 
match what the camera will reveal.
  I believe in body cameras. This is why I have filed H.R. 5407, the 
TIP Act, Transparency in Policing. The TIP Act would cause the Justice 
Department to examine the circumstance in this country, the costs for 
body cameras, and would then allow those jurisdictions that cannot 
afford to incorporate body cameras into their police departments, there 
would be an exemption for them, but would require those generally 
speaking who receive Federal dollars to move to body cameras.
  I regret that we are getting to a point now where we are getting it 
right after the fact. We shouldn't get it right after the fact. This is 
what is happening in Ferguson. After the fact, Ferguson is moving to 
body cameras. But we don't need another Ferguson. There are other 
communities around the country where after the fact they are moving to 
body cameras. We don't need to have an injustice take place before we 
move to a just circumstance and incorporate these body cameras.
  My hope is that we will follow the President's lead and that we will 
incorporate body cameras into police departments across the length and 
breadth and the scope of this country, if you will. But I also pray 
that this bill, H.R. 5407 will get a hearing. It is overwhelmingly 
supported by members of the CBC as well as others. It is not a CBC 
initiative, but it is supported overwhelmingly by the CBC, and my hope 
is that this bill will get a fair hearing because we should not get it 
right after the fact.
  We should have an opportunity to eliminate a lot of what we see as 
confusion and chaos. We need not continue to add fuel to the flame of 
confusion. That flame can be eliminated if we but only had these body 
cameras. They are not a cure-all, and they are not a panacea, but they 
are a positive step in the right direction. I salute the President and 
thank him for what he is doing, and I pray that we will get a fair 
hearing on H.R. 5407.
  God bless you, dear brother, and I pray that you will continue to do 
what you are doing on the floor of the House in giving us this voice so 
that we may reach the American people.
  Mr. JEFFRIES. I thank the distinguished gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. Speaker, how much time do we have remaining?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman has approximately 14 minutes 
remaining.
  Mr. JEFFRIES. It is now my honor and privilege to yield to the 
gentlewoman from New York, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, my good friend. 
She is a distinguished Congresswoman who represents the neighboring 
district at home in Brooklyn. She is a fighter for justice and a voice 
for the voiceless.
  Ms. CLARKE of New York. Hands up, don't shoot.
  I thank my colleague and friend, Mr. Jeffries of Brooklyn, New York, 
for his tremendous leadership both here in Washington, D.C., and at 
home in New York.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise to join my colleagues in the Congressional Black 
Caucus to discuss being black in America and what the injustice in 
Ferguson, Missouri, says about where we are and where we need to go as 
a civil society.
  I first want to, once again, offer my condolences to the family of 
Michael Brown, whose efforts to secure justice on behalf of their son 
were undermined by the decision of the grand jury. The killing of 
Michael Brown and attacks by the Ferguson Police Department on 
protesters demonstrate an assumption that young women and men who are 
African American are inherently suspicious--a false assumption with 
deadly consequences.
  So where do we go from here? We must not allow this false assumption 
to prevail in our Nation, in our society. We cannot and will not accept 
the devaluation of African American lives. We have seen this scenario 
play out too many times in recent years, even in my hometown in 
Brooklyn, New York, where we are still reeling from the recent killing 
of Akai Gurley, an unarmed young man shot by a probationary New York 
City police officer. This killing comes on the heels of the homicide by 
a choke hold of Eric Garner on Staten Island, again, in New York City.
  Mr. Speaker, it is deeply disappointing that as we observe the 50th 
anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 we are still trying to 
fulfill the promise of the 14th Amendment, of equal protection under 
the law. While the Civil Rights Act of 1964 transformed our Nation by 
prohibiting discrimination based on race, religion, color, sex, and 
national origin at work, in schools, and in other public facilities, we 
still must transform the perception, biases, and prejudices that some 
people still carry with them like luggage from generations past.
  The incidents in Ferguson and cities across this Nation remind us 
that communities that have been disproportionately and unjustly 
targeted by police departments demand recognition of their humanity. 
Young people of color refuse to live in a democratic society in a state 
of fear, and we have an obligation as a nation to rid ourselves of the 
scourge of racially biased, state-sanctioned terrorism.
  I fully support the steps announced today by the Obama administration 
to strengthen community policing and fortify the trust that must exist 
between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve. I have 
been a vocal advocate for better relations between the community and 
law enforcement community. Given the police officers' sole mission is 
to serve and protect the people with dignity, integrity, and respect, 
we must focus on achieving that mission. I pledge to work with my 
constituents, the Obama administration, my colleagues, and officials 
across this country--especially in New York City--to restore public 
trust and to establish a more enlightened policing strategy, and to 
prevent such incidents in the future.
  So, again, I would like to thank Mr. Jeffries for his leadership. I 
want to thank the CBC, the conscience of the Congress, for holding this 
timely Special Order. To all Americans who are disturbed by the 
demonstrations that are taking place across this Nation, I want you to 
remember these four words: no justice, no peace.
  Mr. JEFFRIES. Thank you, Congresswoman Clarke.
  Mr. Speaker, Akai Gurley in Brooklyn did not deserve to die. Tamir 
Rice in Cleveland did not deserve to die. Michael Brown in Ferguson did 
not deserve to die. The Congressional Black Caucus is determined to 
make sure that these and many other deaths at the hands of law 
enforcement resulting from the use of excessive force will not be in 
vain.

[[Page H8206]]

  Mr. Speaker, it is now my honor and my privilege to yield to the 
distinguished gentleman from the great State of Indiana, Congressman 
Andre Carson, one of the mighty voices of the hip-hop generation here 
in the United States Congress who powerfully represents his Midwestern 
district.
  Mr. CARSON of Indiana. I have to acknowledge my colleague, my friend, 
my brother, and leader, not only nationwide but internationally, but 
especially in Brooklyn, for his boldness, his tenacity, Mr. Speaker, 
his intestinal fortitude, and his ability as a sitting Member of 
Congress to still speak truth to power, Congressman Jeffries.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight to express my deepest condolences to the 
Brown family, who lost their son far too soon. As a parent, I can only 
imagine their pain and grief, Mr. Speaker. No parent should have to go 
through such an ordeal.
  As a young African American man, I can relate to the frustration 
being felt on the streets of Ferguson and streets across our country. 
The history of this great Nation, Mr. Speaker, past and present, is 
plagued with incidents of bigotry and discrimination in our justice 
system. Racial injustice continues to afflict our communities, and with 
each incident like this one, old wounds are reopened. The feelings felt 
in Ferguson are real and cannot and should not be discounted.
  Mr. Speaker, many right now feel abandoned by our justice system or 
unfairly singled out for suspicion. These are very legitimate concerns 
that cannot be ignored or overshadowed by those who have turned to 
violence.
  Now, as a former police officer, Mr. Speaker, I want to say I do 
respect our system of justice, but I also recognize the shortcomings. 
We certainly have a long way to go to guarantee our country's children 
of color are protected equally under the law in every instance, every 
neighborhood, and all across this great Nation. Mr. Speaker, no 
community should have to doubt whether justice has prevailed when a 
decision like this one has been handed down.
  We must not let Michael Brown's death be in vain. That would be a 
disgrace. That would be a tragedy. Today, our Nation is still 
struggling to heal. But this cannot truly happen until we honestly 
assess how justice is provided across our country.
  This process starts with peaceful protests, yes, but it ends with 
lasting reforms that protect all Americans equally, Mr. Speaker. This 
will not be easy or quick. But what is clear is that this march toward 
a better, more equitable country must begin with a unified front.
  Now through this tragedy we should bring about lasting change. And so 
tonight on that note, I want to ask, Mr. Speaker, all of my colleagues, 
my fellow Americans, to stand with the Congressional Black Caucus to 
make this dream a reality.
  Mr. JEFFRIES. I thank the distinguished gentleman for his eloquent 
remarks.
  Mr. Speaker, let me now yield to the distinguished gentleman from 
Maryland, the great Elijah Cummings, for his remarks.

                              {time}  2015

  Mr. CUMMINGS. Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Jeffries for calling this 
Special Order tonight.
  Let me say to America, whenever a law enforcement officer shoots and 
kills an unarmed citizen in this great country, America has a problem. 
I want us to be very careful that we don't become distracted and not 
address the issues.
  I know that we in the Congressional Black Caucus make sure that we 
don't get involved in motion, commotion, and emotion and no results, 
and that is what this is all about because the things that we are 
talking about is trying to bring about change, not just for our young 
people today, but for generations yet unborn.
  Let me just briefly state that I am very pleased with what the 
President did today. I think it is a step in the right direction, the 
effort to get body cameras, 50,000 of them, and to establish a task 
force.
  Right after Ferguson happened, I, along with a hundred other leaders, 
wrote to the President, and we just asked for certain things, and I 
will name them, and then I will yield back because I know we have 
limited time.
  We asked that DOJ develop a training for law enforcement officers to 
counteract racial bias, renewed focus on diversity hiring and retention 
among law enforcement professionals, grants to support engagement with 
youth in the communities these officers serve, call for the 
demilitarization and reduction of excessive weaponry among community 
police departments, call for DOJ oversight of law enforcement 
practices, and increased accountability through national standards for 
investigation into cases of inappropriate police behavior.
  We in the Congressional Black Caucus will continue this fight. To the 
Brown family, you have our condolences, but we know that you want to 
make sure that change is brought about. We promise you that we are 
going to do everything in our power to make that happen.
  Mr. JEFFRIES. I thank the distinguished gentleman from Maryland.
  I now yield to one of my colleagues in the freshman class, soon to be 
a dynamic sophomore, the distinguished gentlewoman from Ohio (Mrs. 
Beatty).
  Mrs. BEATTY. Mr. Speaker, it is indeed my honor to stand here not 
only with the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, but with you, 
Congressman Jeffries, for the work you have done.
  Today, I have a heavy heart as we stand here as members of the 
Congressional Black Caucus on the topic of being Black in America, what 
Ferguson says about where we are and where we need to go.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by expressing my deepest 
condolences to the family of Michael Brown as his death was undeniably 
tragic. The ``Gentle Giant,'' as Michael was nicknamed by his family 
members, will not be forgotten, nor what his loss represents. Michael 
Brown had a promising future before his life was cut short by police 
gunfire by police that fateful day in August.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Rothfus). The time of the gentleman has 
expired.
  Mr. JEFFRIES. Mr. Speaker, we have come a long way. We still have a 
long way to go. We look forward to marching toward a more perfect 
Union.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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