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Young Female in Group - at Protest - Talking to Police
Press Statement September 22, 2021

NAACP President and CEO, Derrick Johnson, Releases Statement on Bipartisan Police-Overhaul Talks Ending With No Deal

Young Female in Group - at Protest - Talking to Police

Our country and the fight for justice forever changed on May 25, 2020, as we all watched the public lynching of George Floyd. Once again, like so many times before, we experienced the pain and anger of seeing another Black man wrongfully murdered at the hands of those with the responsibility of protecting us. In a year unlike any other, when the American people spoke up, marched, and demanded reforms in policing, law enforcement unions and partisan politicians chose to stand on the wrong side of history. They have chosen to stand with those who have lynched the very people they are meant to protect and serve.

Senator Booker and Congresswoman Bass heard those demands and took the responsibility of ushering in a new vision for policing by introducing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which as proposed, would end the protections of qualified immunity; prohibit the use of chokeholds; create a national registry to track police misconduct; eliminate racial profiling as a practice, and remove military-grade equipment from state and local law enforcement agencies. They attempted to work across the aisle to ensure a sustainable solution could be reached. Regardless of their tireless efforts, we, unfortunately, learned yesterday that those negotiations have ended due to the cowardness of some congressional leaders who'd rather protect the interest of their financial backers than protect the lives of those within the communities they represent.

It is disheartening that there is a lack of courage and bravery to bring about true reform.

I want to sincerely thank Senator Booker and Congresswomen Bass for their devoted leadership. Without their efforts, we would not have made the inroads that we have. I also want to affirm the NAACP's commitment to finding transformational solutions to addressing these racially rooted issues. We continue to demand that Congress identify policy solutions that protect Black people and end the history of brutality and violence toward our communities. Since all justice movements begin with grassroots mobilization, we know there is an opportunity to take these policy issues on at the state and local levels. Community members, leaders, and activists have the power to lead true change. We will continue to work with our local units and community leaders in coalition until justice is served for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the countless other Black people and communities who continue to be terrorized by law enforcement. This news is not the end of our fight, but one thing is clear, the battle for police reform is far from over. It will remain a top priority for us because innocent lives are at stake and racial justice is our goal.