SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — U.S. Senator Kamala Harris spoke Wednesday with KRON4’s Pam Moore about the killing of George Floyd, the nationwide protests and the response from President Donald Trump.
On Wednesday, prosecutors expanded their case against the police who were at the scene of Floyd’s death, charging three of the officers with aiding and abetting a murder. They also upgraded the charges against Derek Chauvin, the officer who pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck, to second-degree murder.
“We’re clearly one step closer to justice. We also know that justice delayed is justice denied. The fact that it is taken this long is inexcusable because it’s not as though there was much evidence in dispute, but here we are,” Harris said. “It is also good that the attorney general has taken over that investigation.”
Harris said she is working with senators and members of the Congressional Black Caucus to put together a package of legislation to reform policing in America. One of the proposals, Harris says, is to have more independent investigations.
The most serious charge was filed against Chauvin, whose actions caught-on-video sparked worldwide protests and outrage. Three other officers — Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
All four officers were fired last week.
Harris explained how people have been fighting for justice for decades, but the only change that’s being made is people are recording it with their smart phones.
She also discussed how President Donald Trump is handling the situation.
Several people are pointing to Trump’s comments as bowing to the extreme right in light of the protests going on around the nation. Two members of the congressional delegation from the Bay Area called the president a racist Tuesday while on air with KRON4 News — and Harris didn’t hesitate to agree.
“I do agree with it, and I also would will say that his words are not the words of a president, they’re the words of a dictator,” Harris said.
Senator Harris said although there’s a lot of work to be done, she is proud of the way the people are stepping up and leading.
As far as what she is doing on a federal level to help make a change, Harris said she is working with colleagues to initiate pattern-or-practice investigations when a police department has been accused of discrimination.
She also says she working on changing the national use of force standard. When there’s been a finding of excessive force by a police officer and that officer’s been charged with excessive force, the court will base it on the current standard and simply ask “was it reasonable?”
“For almost every action you can find that there’s some reason. But that’s not a fair standard given what we’re talking about,” Harris said. “I’m arguing that the standard should be not was it reasonable, but was the use of force necessary?”
Keep up with the latest on the George Floyd protests throughout the Bay Area and across the world on KRONon.
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