Rep. Brenda Lawrence on Police Reform: “We Went from Anguish to Action”

With both House and Senate bills stalled, where does the future of police reform stand in Congress?

Protestors and activists have continued to push for dramatic change to American policing to some local and state progress, but the federal government has yet to pass legislation to meet the moment.

“Thank God there are people who are not African American who are just as enraged as we are who say can’t keep doing this.” — Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield).

Two bills have been introduced — one by House Democrats and one in the Republican-controlled Senate — but it’s unclear how, or if, they will be resolved.

Listen: Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence on police brutality and reform efforts.


Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, a Democrat representing Michigan’s 14th District, says the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, passed by the House but mired in the Senate, came as a rejoinder to every state in America having some form of protest against police brutality.

“We went from anguish to action,” says Congresswoman Lawrence of the House bill. She adds that white people joining in the movement against police violence and systemic racism has been a welcome change.

“Thank God there are people who are not African American who are just as enraged as we are who say can’t keep doing this, this has to stop,” says Lawrence.

On police reform’s future in the Senate, Congresswoman Lawrence points to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as a substantial obstacle to progress “That’s the crime in Mitch McConnell’s philosophy of being a public servant… he will not bring any bill forward that does not align with Donald Trump’s philosophy,” she says.

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