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Civil rights groups call for legislation addressing police killings of African Americans
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Civil rights groups call for legislation addressing police killings of African Americans

The Conference on Civil and Human Rights sent a letter to US congressional leaders on Monday, urging them to “take swift and decisive legislative action” in response to a series of recent police killings of African Americans. The letter was signed by 438 organizations, including the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The letter stated that the current protests, which came in response to the death of George Floyd, were also a “cry for action to public officials for structural change.” The organizations emphasized that the recent deaths of many others, including Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, highlighted the need for congressional action.

The letter urged Congress to adopt a series of legislative measures to ensure that police officers “live up to their oath to protect and serve.” These legislative measures include requiring a federal standard that force be used only as a last resort; prohibiting the use of maneuvers that restrict the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain, including chokeholds; prohibiting racial profiling; requiring data collection on police-community encounters; and ending the qualified immunity doctrine. The letter also called for the creation of a publicly available database that would provide police executives with information about the misconduct histories of officers before the officers are hired.

The organizations also requested a meeting with House and Senate leadership within the week to discuss legislative responses.