I believe that the promise of America is that everyone is treated with respect and dignity no matter what race, gender, ethnicity. I also acknowledge that our country has real problems with living up to that promise. As senator, I’m committed to tackling the racial injustice that has been pervasive in our country for far too long, to include racial inequities in education, healthcare, and opportunity.
The killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have brought the country together to stand against police violence and systemic racism, and there is a long list of victims that have come before them.
I’ve called for a full and transparent investigation into Breonna Taylor’s shooting and have strongly urged our nation’s leaders to stand up for our right to peacefully protest and protect those who are trying to make their voices heard.
I have three little kids. It’s my worst nightmare to think of anything happening to them. But the reality of our country is that Black parents have to bury their children too often because of racist violence. We can’t sit silently while this happens.
I’ve been fortunate to talk to community leaders, experts, and everyday Kentuckians about this, both in-person at vigils for the victims and virtually, and I will continue to learn, listen and stand with you all. My goal has been to make sure marginalized voices are being amplified and Kentuckians are being supported and safe during this time.
We are truly at a turning point in our country, and I will not let this moment pass without using my platform as a candidate, and my legislative power when I’m elected to the Senate, to enact concrete changes to our policing and criminal justice systems, and address the structural inequities that are pervasive in this country.
Here are a few legislative ideas at the federal level I believe are a good place to start:
Citizens have to be able to trust that the response to police violence will be handled fairly and independently. I support Senator Tammy Duckworth’s bill that would incentivize states to require an independent investigation each and every time a police officer uses force that results in serious harm or death.
As Senator Cory Booker says, training is an essential part of the solution. All officers must be trained to recognize and counteract racial bias. The federal government should also incentivize de-escalation tactics and use of force guidelines that require officers to always use the least amount of force possible.
Among the police officers I know, no one thinks they need to be using chokeholds or strangleholds, so we should look at banning them nationally.
We only know the truth behind George Floyd’s death because of video footage. I want to see the federal government do all it can to guarantee that every officer has a functioning body camera that’s actually turned on.
These policies are just a start. Justice for Breonna means doing everything in our power to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.