Like so many of you, Clarice and I are appalled by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all those before them whose lives were needlessly taken by racism and brutality. Having lived through the unfinished civil rights movement, this moment feels like a reopening of old wounds and reminds us of its ongoing mission: to replace prejudice and violence with equality and justice. We stand with the protesters across Virginia demanding change and proclaiming: Black Lives Matter. I join the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus in calling for immediate action by Virginia’s Crime Commission to ensure fairness exists in our criminal justice system.
During the 2020 legislative session I introduced and passed a bill to deter and increase accountability for the misuse of police power. The Community Policing Act (House Bill 1250) prohibits law enforcement officers from engaging in bias-based profiling and – for the first time in Virginia – collects comprehensive data on the basis and outcome of every officer traffic stop, as well as complaints alleging use of excessive force. This data will be analyzed to expose the existence and prevalence of such concerns, with an annual reporting of findings along with recommendations for change. Standardized data collection is the first step in policy reform. Then more work must occur. I will continue to introduce and support legislation that addresses institutional racism in all its forms across our Commonwealth.