© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

At March On Washington, Rep. Joyce Beatty Pushes Police Accountability Bill

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), center, spoke Friday, Aug. 28, 2020 at the March on Washington.
Joyce Beatty
Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), center, spoke Friday, Aug. 28, 2020 at the March on Washington.

Taking the stage at a rally Friday commemorating the 1963 March on Washington, Columbus congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) emphasized the need for police accountability legislation.

Organizers marked the anniversary of Martin Luther King. Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial against the backdrop of renewed protests against police violence.

“Silence is not an option,” Beatty said, “because Black people face a symbolic chokehold every time we walk, speak up shop, jog, drive, and yes—breathe.”

Beatty, who is vice chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, argued that legislation she co-sponsored can be the vehicle for change.

“Let us pass the George Ford [sic] Justice In Policing Act,” Beatty told the crowd. “No more immunity for officers who looked boldly into cell phone cameras as they kill our brothers and sisters.”

The measure has already passed the Democratic-controlled House, but it has yet to gain traction in the U.S. Senate.

Among other things, the wide-ranging measure would ban no-knock warrants and choke holds, as well as establish a nationwide registry tracking police misconduct. Beatty connected each policy change with the names—Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice—of people whose death at the hands of police prompted the proposal.

Other speakers at the event, officially called "Get Your Knee Off Our Necks," included Martin Luther King III, Rep. Ayanna Presley (D-Mass.) and Rev. Al Sharpton.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.