The Congressional Black Caucus released the following statement regarding today’s call led by Rep. Stacey Plaskett (US Virgin Islands) between the members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray to discuss the actions being taken by the FBI during this time of unrest in our country:
“America’s history of racism and racially motivated violence continues to live on through generations. That systemic racism is evident in the disproportionate rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths, use of excessive police force against people of color, injustices in our legal system and in social and economic disparities.
“Today the call between FBI Director Christopher Wray and members of the Congressional Black Caucus was in response to law enforcement misconduct across the country and demonstrations spurred by these incidents. While our nation has been halted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the cancer of racism and those infected by it are still active working against Americans. Americans have taken to the streets to bring a halt to systemic racism. And the members of the Congressional Black Caucus are pushing Congress and the federal government to pass laws and utilize federal oversight to stop the assault on Black Americans and protect peaceful protestors constitutional rights.
“When police officers who abuse and kill citizens, public confidence and trust are eroded. This makes it difficult to maintain civil order in our society. Today, members of the CBC wanted to have a conversation with the FBI to express their concerns, ask questions and get answers that would better prepare them to address their constituents and develop law enforcement reform legislation. As voices from coast to coast take to the streets to demand justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the many whose names we never knew, we cannot look at these as isolated incidents but instead the repercussions of justice denied.
“Director Wray indicated that the FBI is working to ensure that peaceful demonstrators are treated fairly and are safe and those inciting violence and crime are prosecuted. Members of Congress, including Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries discussed requiring a national database of police misconduct and reform, training and accountability to American police departments. Members were able to discuss ongoing investigations during the protests. Director Wray discussed the FBI’s work to investigate cases which hold officers accountable and offer training and reiterated his commitment to continue to work with the Congressional Black Caucus through dialogue and briefings.
“The protesters on our streets are demanding a permanent change and not a temporary fix. In order to heal as a nation we must fix what is broken. The Congressional Black Caucus looks forward to working with the FBI and other law enforcement organizations in order that justice is served and our citizens are protected. The Congressional Black Caucus is listening. The Congressional Black Caucus will continue to hold federal law enforcement agencies accountable. In the coming weeks members in their respective committees will hold hearings on these issues. The Congressional Black Caucus has called on the Department of Justice to conduct a thorough investigation into all cases of police brutality and racially motivated hate crimes.
“The vicious acts of violence and racism towards Black people in America can no longer go on with impunity.