Congresswoman Gwen Moore: ‘We are seeing an opportunity’
MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – Congresswoman Gwen Moore says the Congressional Black Caucus is set to roll out a package of legislation to address policing following nearly a week of protests over the death of George Floyd.
The legislation will concentrate on use of force tactics by law enforcement as well as standards of department policies and training.
“Starting with the militaristic equipment that are used in certain police forces, the militaristic tactics that are used,” Moore told CBS 58. “It’s not the be all end all, but it’s a start.”
While Moore is hoping to use this moment to amplify the voices of Black Americans, the congresswoman from Milwaukee believes much of the systematic change that is demanded by protesters across the country will have to come at the state and local levels.
“We need effective police departments and we need citizen engagement,” Moore said, adding that mayors and local leaders need to be part of spearheading the change.
For Moore, the death of George Floyd and events that have followed are reminiscent of the killing of Ernest Lacy in Milwaukee in 1981. Lacy died after being arrested by Milwaukee police officers with one officer having his knee on Lacy's back, near his neck, while Lacy was handcuffed. Shortly after, he became unresponsive.
“I think that the more things change the more they remain the same,” Moore said. “I remember literally 40 years ago – at this same time being at a protest with my son who had a sign that said, ‘who’s next?’”
But Moore is optimistic this moment in the country can lead to concrete change.
“Perhaps, we are seeing an opportunity for a people to take some agency and a responsibility for changing in society,” Moore said.
She added that she was, “heartened” to see that protests have featured multiracial and multigenerational groups.
“That is really what has made the difference in every protest movement that we’ve had,” Moore said. “That it be universal. That people can see themselves in other people’s plight. […] I think that being woke and being conscious is not just something that is happening one community but it’s having a viral effect and I think that is the impetus for great transformation and I’m very hopeful.”