The House Judiciary Committee’s most senior Democrat, John Conyers Jr. (D-MI) and former Crime subcommittee Chair Bobby Scott (D-VA) sent a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) requesting congressional hearings on recent incidents of local law enforcement using excessive force. They are joined by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), the most senior Democrat on the Judiciary Subcommittee’s on Constitution and Civil Justice.
In July, a Staten Island, New York man, Eric Garner, was killed in police custody after five members of the New York City Police Department attempted to arrest him for selling cigarettes. Last Saturday, college-bound teen Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri.
Earlier in July, before Garner was killed by the NYPD, video of a California trooper viciously beating a woman on the side of the road became national news. Unlike the incidents involving Garner and Brown, the woman, Marlene Pinnock, 51, survived. None of the officers have been punished to date. All continue to receive pay.
The incidents occur at a time when crime rates across the U.S. are at historic lows.
In their joint press release, Conyers, Scott and Cohen, say they are requesting hearings to, “highlight the troubling events that have transpired in Ferguson and those of similar nature that have occurred recently in New York City, Los Angeles, and Houston. The letter also expresses concern over the extensive militarization of local law enforcement.”
A copy of the letter sent to Chairman Goodlatte can be seen here.
The press release announcing the request for hearings states that, “the House Committee on the Judiciary has jurisdiction over protecting constitutional freedoms and civil liberties, oversight of the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, legal and regulatory reform, innovation, competition and anti-trust laws, terrorism and crime, and immigration reform.”