ARLINGTON, TEXAS POLICE CHIEF ACTED CORRECTLY IN FIRING OF POLICE OFFICER USING EXCESSIVE FORCE
August 11, 2015
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations released the following statement today:
“Chief Will Johnson of the Arlington, Texas Police Department did the right thing by firing the officer who shot and killed Christian Taylor, 19, on Friday, August 2015. The officer who killed this young man had not even completed field training. To say he exercised poor judgment is an understatement. To most viewers of the video, it appears that Mr. Taylor may have been in need of assistance but did not pose any threat to the officer’s safety warranting the exercise of lethal force.
“The rate at which unarmed black men are shot and killed by police officers is beyond alarming. According to the Washington Post, 24 unarmed black men have been shot and killed by police this year alone – that’s one every nine days. The urgent need for police departments to seek accreditation and to receive better training in de-escalation and non-deadly police tactics cannot be understated. Law enforcement agencies should act swiftly and purposefully in transitioning to the role of ‘guardian’ from the current ‘warrior’ mindset.
“Real criminal justice reform must include support for police departments to become the best police force they can be. The Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act (H.R. 2875), which I introduced with Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, does just that. This bill establishes guidelines for excellence in law enforcement and serves as a vital roadmap for improving police ethics and training and restoring trust and respect within the community. The Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act requires law enforcement agencies to take a cold, hard look in the mirror and identify flaws, acknowledge weaknesses, and take corrective action.
“Reforming our criminal justice system and enhancing police training must also include taking a closer look at mental health and substance abuse needs of those coming into contact with the criminal and juvenile justice system. My Youth Bills (collectively, the RAISE Act-H.R. 3158, Fair Chance for Youth Act-H.R. 3156, and Effective and Human Treatment of Youth Act-H.R. 3155) provide critical intervention at several key points along a young person’s path into and out of the justice system – from the very first interaction with law enforcement to the point at which they reenter the community. These senseless tragedies demand the passing of comprehensive criminal and juvenile justice reform.”
Congresswoman Jackson Lee is a Democrat from Texas’s 18th Congressional District. She is a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary and Homeland Security and is Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.