Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 7120, a Democrat-led bill that was introduced with no Republican input, and that would undermine law enforcement officers’ ability to do their jobs effectively. Following the vote, Congressman Gary Palmer released the following statement:
“I opposed this bill because it would result in more crime and fewer people willing to serve in law enforcement.,” Palmer said. “The Democrat bill lowers the standard for mens rea and virtually eliminates qualified immunity for officers, meaning that an officer could potentially go to prison for breaking the law unintentionally. Few people want to serve in a job in which they are attacked, underpaid, and overworked, and even fewer want to serve in one in which they could be charged as a criminal besides. At the end of the day, more crime and fewer law enforcement officers to ensure our safety would be the results of this bill.
“Without qualification, George Floyd’s death was horrific. It was a brutal, callous assault that has damaged public trust in police officers. But we cannot undermine the entire law enforcement community because of it. Every group has bad actors, but we cannot continue painting all law enforcement officers as villains. I’m thankful for the brave men and women who work for the safety of our communities, families, and the very Capitol in which Congress convenes. Officers take an oath to run toward danger when everyone else runs away, and I’m indebted to two officers, David Bailey and Crystal Griner, who did just that to keep my colleagues and me from being killed on a baseball field three years ago. They and many more like them are heroes and I stand with them.
“The Democrat leadership claimed they wanted to come together with Republicans to craft a bill for sensible law enforcement reforms, yet they did not allow a single Republican to give input on this bill. Moreover, the Democrats rejected every Republican amendment, including those that would have strengthened the bill, such as anti-lynching provisions, extensive new training requirements, more transparency, and more accountability. What’s more, the Democrats in the House and Senate exhibited stunning disrespect and contempt for the Senate companion bill introduced by Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), one of only three African-Americans in the Senate. One Senate leader even called his bill a “token,” a dismissive word with clear racial overtones. And while violent anarchists are holding Democrat cities hostage, Speaker Nancy Pelosi stooped to a new low by calling Senator Scott’s reform bill ‘an attempt to get away with murder.’
Palmer concluded, “Every day, police officers put their lives on the line to serve our communities honorably, and I will never support any effort, such as H.R. 7120, to make their jobs even more dangerous while also leaving our communities vulnerable to the lawless acts and senseless violence we are witnessing across our nation today.”