Rep. Matt Gaetz calls to reform parts of law enforcement agencies, not defund departments
Escambia County (WEAR-TV) — As protests continue across the nation, a House Judiciary Committee meeting was held on Capitol Hill to address policing practices Wednesday.
There George Floyd’s brother made a heart-wrenching plea for justice, one day after Floyd was laid to rest.
“Today I’m asking you to make it stop. Stop the pain. Stop us from being tired. George called for help and he was ignored. Please listen to the call I’m making to you now,” said Philonise Floyd.
Channel 3 News talked people in Pensacola about the changes they’d like to see in regards to policing in our communities
“Reforming? I’m over that already,” said Stacie Reeves. “Defunding? That sounds good. Why do we have to continue to pay for them killing us? I pay for them to maybe kill my son, to maybe kill my husband, to maybe kill some family member. Every night we don’t know who is coming home.”
Pensacola resident Hensley Watley said she wants to see law enforcement agencies abolished.
“If some officers show up to the scene and perform police brutality, then if no officer shows up to the scene then that may be doing and helping half the problem,” said Watley.
Others like Callie Shelley believe police departments need more funding, to pay for more training for officers.
“If they had more money to train the police properly for them to handle a situation so that they were able to tackle that from the get go, it would be a lot more beneficial to the community,” added Shelley.
Florida Representative Matt Gaetz spoke at today’s hearing.
He asked the group, “If you believe we should defund the police, will you please raise your hand?”.
No one raised their hand.
Rep. Gaetz is calling to reform some aspects of law enforcement agencies.
“While I think we can fine tune elements to ensure we don’t defund the police, that we don’t make our communities less safe, I do think there is not a legitimate defense of chokeholds, of lynching or bad cops that get shuttled around,” added Rep. Gaetz.
On Monday, a bill called the ‘Justice in Policing’ Act was introduced.
If passed, it would make a list of changes including prohibiting racial profiling, banning practices like chokeholds and require agencies to collect and report information like police encounters.