PENNSYLVANIA – Today Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Sharif Street issued the following statement in response to the murder of Tyre Nichols:
“Tyre Nichols’ life mattered and to die at the hands of those responsible for protecting and serving is tragic. My condolences to his family who have prematurely lost a father and son. People want to feel safe, and it is our constitutional mandate as a government to provide it.
There must be accountability for Tyre’s death, and it is encouraging that federal, state, and local officials have moved quickly to hold his killers accountable. But accountability is only a measure of justice.
Since the murder of George Floyd there has been a national effort to reexamine public safety and reform policing and our criminal justice system. We must continue to do the work to make policing and the criminal justice system equal for all and start by passing federal protections via the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and ensuring the standard of policing our communities deserve is also expressed in state law.
Following Floyd’s death, the Pennsylvania Senate unanimously passed two major pieces of police reform legislation that found no traction in the PA House. My bill banning the use of chokeholds in an officer’s efforts to detain an individual and requiring every police department in Pennsylvania adopt a use of force policy, publish that policy for the public and train its officers to that standard should be adopted by the General Assembly.
Senator Costa’s bill mandating that all police departments maintain records of use of force incidents that detail the event, including the reason for the use of force, detail of the injuries inflicted, as well as property damage or death also needs to be adopted.
Senator Hughes also introduced a similar policy – 8 Can’t Wait – proposals that would create a more explicit and just standard for the use of force by police. Pennsylvania is on the clock for substantive police reform. We must reform the standards under which force is used and its extent. This must occur to improve the bond of trust between our community and law enforcement, which is imperative to keeping communities safe.
While our hearts and prayers go out to Tyre’s family and community, we must also take concrete steps to ensure this type of senseless tragedy doesn’t happen again. That is why the above legislation is so important and our fight must continue.”