Oct 27, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Omar criticizes fellow House Democrats on police brutality, despite sweeping reform bill

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) told "Axios on HBO" that House Democrats' failure to pass a resolution condemning police brutality that she co-sponsored earlier this year is an indication of her colleagues' inability to meet the moment following the death of George Floyd.

Yes, but: Every House Democrat did vote in June to pass legislation that would have constituted the most drastic overhaul of federal policing laws in decades.

What she's saying: Omar was asked by Axios' Alexi McCammond if House Democrats "understand the severity of this moment, not just in words but in actions through policy":

"I don't think most understand. We put forth a resolution to address police brutality and systematic racism that has been on the shelf since May, since the death and the murder of George Floyd. So when you are hesitating to pass a resolution like that, it is hard for me to believe that it is not just a hashtag for you.
I get very frustrated when people talk about what the polls say in favor of the Black Lives Matter movement or when I hear people say 'law and order,' 'I support our law enforcement' — which is not even something that people are questioning — but are not willing to aggressively speak to what it means for us to care about the Black individuals in our community as they care for everyone else."

Omar's resolution, introduced on May 29 with Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), sought to "condemn police brutality, racial profiling and the excessive use of force."

  • It argues that "police brutality and the use of excessive and militarized force are among the most serious ongoing human rights and civil liberties violations" in the country.

The bottom line: Versions of some of the resolution's key policy initiatives were ultimately included in the reform bill passed the next month by House Democrats.

  • They include the prohibition of "racial, religious and discriminatory profiling" at all policing levels; a grant program to help state attorneys general conduct independent investigations into police departments; and the granting of subpoena power to the Justice Department in "pattern and practice" investigations.
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