“I want to make it quite clear that this amendment is completely irrelevant,” Demings, who served as chief of the Orlando Police Department for three years, said.
“I served as a law enforcement officer for 27 years. It is a tough job. And good police officers deserve your support. You know, it’s interesting to see my colleagues on the other side of the aisle support the police when it is politically convenient to do so. Law enforcement officers risk their lives every day. They deserve better,” the Florida Democrat said.
At that point, Jordan sought to interject, earning a fierce rebuttal from Demings who struck her hand against the desk in front of her as she exclaimed: “I have the floor Mr. Jordan.”
“Did I strike a nerve?” Demings continued as she looked in the Ohio Republican’s direction. “Law enforcement officers deserve better that to be utilized as pawns. And you and your colleagues should be ashamed of yourselves.”
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler interrupted the exchange in an effort to restore order to the hearing, but when Jordan said he agreed with Nadler that members shouldn’t shout out of turn, Demings shot back: “Mr. Jordan you don’t know what the heck you’re talking about.”
The trial in recent weeks again ignited the kind of soul searching about the role of police in society and systemic racism in the criminal justice system, and the nation writ large, that many advocates have been urging for decades.
“America, and quite frankly I think around the world, people have been grieving now for over a year. It’s been a tough year. We’re all exhausted. But the verdict today sent a strong message,” she said.
“You know, it sent a message that we may not be the America that we need to be, but the verdict today signals that we can be that America that we’re supposed to be.”
Demings added that she hopes this moment acts as a springboard for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which passed the House last month but faces an uncertain future in the Senate.
“Is it going to solve all of our issues? No it will not,” the congresswoman said Tuesday evening.
“But it is certainly a great step in the right direction and we deserve it, good law enforcement officers deserve it and America deserves it.”
This story has been updated with additional comments from Demings on Tuesday.
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