PHILANDO CASTILE
(House of Representatives - June 27, 2017)

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[Pages H5185-H5186]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                            PHILANDO CASTILE

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
Missouri (Mr. Clay) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. CLAY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to mourn the death of my former 
constituent, Philando Castile, whose shocking and completely 
unnecessary death has now been seen by millions around the world via 
video.
  I mourn not only his death but also the complete failure of local law 
enforcement and the criminal justice system to protect his most 
precious right, the right to life.
  Philando, like so many other young African Americans before him,

[[Page H5186]]

interacted with local law enforcement, responded peacefully, did 
exactly what he was supposed to do, yet he wound up dead, shot six 
times at pointblank range by an officer who saw him as something less 
than human.
  He is dead for no good reason except for the color of his skin and 
the fact that his ethnicity fed into an implicit, sick, and deadly bias 
held by some police officers that Black people present an imminent 
threat simply by virtue of who we are. That bias is pervasive, not just 
among some police officers, but also throughout our criminal justice 
system.
  Anyone who views the video of Philando's police shooting can see that 
he should not be dead and that the officer who killed him should have 
been held accountable. But as in far too many other cases, the justice 
system failed Philando and his family in the most outrageous way. The 
sad truth is that, in 2017, we continue to suffer under a justice 
system that provides justice for some but not for all.
  As I join with Philando's family and millions of other Americans who 
were outraged by the complete lack of accountability for his death, I 
cannot but help remember another tragic case, the death of my 18-year-
old constituent, Mike Brown, almost 3 years ago in Ferguson, Missouri. 
As I watched Philando's family screaming out for justice, they reminded 
me of something that Mike Brown's mother, Lezley McSpadden, told me. 
She said: Congressman, I want them to know that he mattered to me.
  Well, he mattered to me, too, as well as Philando. So did Tamir Rice, 
Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, and so many others who have 
died at the hands of local police for no good reason and without any 
consequences.
  Mr. Speaker, I have supported local law enforcement for over 30 
years, and I continue to have no doubt that the vast majority of police 
officers perform a difficult, dangerous, and essential job with honor, 
bravery, and integrity. But I also know that too many other officers 
clearly lack the temperament and training to deescalate interactions 
before they become deadly, and that continues to cost many innocent 
lives.
  That is why I have introduced, along with my good friends, 
Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee and Senator Tammy Duckworth of 
Illinois, the Police Training and Independent Review Act of 2017. This 
legislation has already earned almost 100 cosponsors.
  My bill would protect both police officers and the citizens they 
serve. It would require sensitivity training in the areas of race, 
ethnic bias, disabilities, and interactions with new immigrants. It 
would also establish incentives to encourage States to adopt new laws 
to require an independent prosecutor in all cases when police use 
deadly force. This legislation deserves a fair hearing and an up-or-
down vote in this House.
  I will close with this: a brief teaching from the late Dr. Martin 
Luther King, Jr., on the occasion of another needless tragedy, the 
police killing of civil rights worker Jimmie Lee Jackson by an Alabama 
State trooper in 1965. In his eulogy, King said: ``A State trooper 
pointed the gun, but he did not act alone. He was murdered by the 
brutality of every sheriff who practices lawlessness in the name of the 
law.''

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