Common Cause Urges Congress to Hold Emergency Session to Pass Anti-Violence Law Enforcement Reform and Protect the Rights of Peaceful Protesters

Today, Common Cause called on Congress to hold an emergency session to pass reform legislation to address law enforcement racism and abuses and to protect the rights of peaceful protesters. The letter comes in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers which inspired nationwide protests that in numerous instances led to police brutality against peaceful protesters exercising their First Amendment rights. Common Cause urges Congress to condemn President Trump’s threats to use the military to violently attack peacefully protesting Americans – including a disgraceful show of police brutality Monday in Lafayette Square in Washington to facilitate a photo opportunity for the President posing with a bible.

“Americans expect and deserve leadership in times of crisis and that is why Common Cause is urging Congress to immediately pass legislation to curb widespread police brutality and to protect the First Amendment right to protest,” said Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn. “President Trump has refused to assume the mantle of leadership to calm the waters during this turbulent and dangerous time and has instead stoked the fires of injustice and hatred while encouraging further police brutality. Congress must step up as a coequal branch of government to curb these widespread abuses reminiscent of crackdowns of peaceful protests on the streets of Moscow, Beijing, or Caracas. We are better than this as a nation and it is time for our leaders to lead.”

The letter makes clear that Common Cause does not condone vandalism and looting, but emphasizes that such unlawful conduct must not be used by police officers to treat every protester like a criminal and a threat.

Common Cause expressed encouragement at reports that the House of Representatives may soon consider  policing reforms to reduce violence. The letter urged the Senate to do the same despite its singular focus on confirming  judges while ignoring the national crises of the coronavirus pandemic and the structural racism embedded in many of the nation’s law enforcement institutions.

To read the full letter, click here.