Black Caucus Chair: After Ferguson, Boehner Must Back Justice Reform


Nine of the 46 members of the Congressional Black Caucus joined a Ferguson, Mo. Methodist congregation yesterday with music, dance and prayers recalling weeks of protests after the shooting of Michael Brown and drawing parallels with events that helped shape the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the New York Times reports. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) said she saw similarities between the civil rights movement led by Dr. King and the criminal justice debate by a new generation of activists that has ignited demonstrations in St. Louis and across the country. “Between 2005 and 2012, incidents of police altercations or killing between police and African-American men happened twice a week,” she said. “We have now come to a point where we're meshing the work of the civil rights activists with our young activists on criminal justice reform.”

U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) is leading an effort on a bill supporting President Obama's plan to equip more police officers with body cameras and reviewing the grand jury system, which has come under criticism after grand juries in Missouri and on Staten Island declined to indict police officers involved in civilian deaths. Republican support is needed to pass the bill, but Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Speaker John A. Boehner “could not end this session without passing criminal justice reform.”

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