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Politics

Rep. John Sarbanes Issues Statement on Delivering Justice

WASHINGTON, DC – Greek-American Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD) issued a statement concerning the efforts in Congress to address the continuing racial injustice in the United States.

The full statement follows:

Dear friend,

Like you, I am anguished and outraged by the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and so many others whose families have been left grieving. Sadly, the promise of America continues to be betrayed by police officers who do not value black lives, by prosecutors who turn a blind eye to racial injustice and, more broadly, by systems of power and privilege that are all too comfortable with the status quo.

The anger and frustration boiling over in so many communities across the country is real — and it is warranted. We must end this corruption of justice.

As a first step, those responsible for the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery must be prosecuted. But the larger task before us is to root out the discrimination and inequality that's ingrained in our society and heal the deep-seated wounds of centuries of American racism.

In this critical and urgent cause, I've joined several important efforts in Congress, including:

  • Supporting the request made by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and the Committee's Democratic Members for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the prosecutors involved in the Ahmaud Arbery case and to open misconduct investigations into the Louisville and Minneapolis police departments. 
  • Voting to pass the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act (H.R. 35), which makes lynching a federal hate crime — building on more than a century of advocacy against extrajudicial, racially motivated murders.
  • Co-sponsoring the End Racial Profiling Act (H.R. 4339), a comprehensive reform effort to end the use of racial profiling by federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officers.
  • Co-sponsoring the Police Training and Independent Review Act (H.R. 125), a bill that encourages states to require law enforcement officers to participate in diversity and sensitivity training and have an independent prosecutor investigate allegations of police misconduct.
  • Joining a Resolution Condemning Police Brutality, which denounces racial profiling, excessive use of force and mass incarceration. The resolution also:
  •  
    • Calls on the U.S. Department of Justice to actively investigate police brutality and enforce accountability and reform measures;
    •  
    • Encourages the creation of civilian review boards across the country with the authority to investigate police misconduct and discipline officers and departments; and
    •  
    • Supports the adoption of policing tactics that reduce police brutality against communities of color.
  • Co-sponsoring the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act (H.R. 40), which establishes a commission to study the history of slavery and racial discrimination dating back to 1619 and to offer proposals for reparations.
  • Co-sponsoring the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act (H.R. 1636), an important effort to study the systemic bigotry and inequality that disproportionately targets African-American men and boys.
  • Supporting the creation of the Commission on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation to memorialize the history of racism in our country and help end racial inequality in our society.

When justice is delayed, distorted or denied, America suffers.

When racism and bigotry persist, we lose our moral center.

For the sake of our children, we must overcome this tragic legacy of racism. In Congress, I will continue fighting — with every fiber of my being — to ensure that the civil and human rights of every person in our country are protected and that all Americans are treated with dignity and respect.

Sincerely,

John P. Sarbanes

Maryland's Third Congressional District

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