State Rep. Joanna McClinton joined state Sen. Anthony Williams, City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier and other community leaders on May 31 to address last Saturday’s peaceful protests and ensuing unrest across Philadelphia in response to George Floyds death at the hands of a white police officer.
“Our hearts are hurting, and our voices are aligned with the young people and folks who started off yesterday as peaceful protestors, risking their lives during this pandemic to spread our message that enough is enough,” McClinton (D-Phila./Delaware) said. “We’re rising up today to join in solidarity to say not only do black lives matter but to ensure we are upholding the humanity and promise this nation started with to provide justice for all.”
McClinton spoke at the Church of Christian Compassion to solidify her commitment to rooting out racism and to remind Philadelphians that liberating communities of color starts with peace not violence.
“How long will we have to wait for justice? We lost George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery all in the same month in which we spent 100 days behind closed doors because of the coronavirus,” explained McClinton. “But systematic racism remains another pandemic in the fabric of this nation that we must deal with by passing laws to ensure we don’t come back around to more names, hashtags and people with badges and guns misusing their authority.”
McClinton is currently working with her colleagues in the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus to pass bills aimed at streamlining police procedures and improving police-community relations, including legislation to:
• Provide definitions for the use of deadly force
• Require the Attorney General to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate any incident of deadly use of force by a law enforcement officer
• Require law enforcement agencies to keep detailed personnel records that include criminal, civil and ethics complaints, and the reason surrounding an officer leaving a job for hiring purposes
• Prohibit the use of arbitration regarding matter of discipline for police
• Establish a statewide standard for training and policing regulations for departments and individual officers, including municipal/local officers, sheriffs, correctional officers and state police
“I want to also stress the importance of seeing the humanity of our men and women in blue,” said McClinton. “We can’t let the recklessness of bad actors taint the reputation of all law enforcement. Too many officers were hurt yesterday trying to maintain the peace. Strengthening our police-community relationship is another key part in our fight for justice.”