WHEREAS, B’nai B’rith is outraged by the brutal killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25, 2020.
WHEREAS, the Floyd tragedy is the most recent in a series of deaths, including the unforgettable events of Baltimore, Md., with Freddie Gray; and of New York City, with Eric Garner, where police exceeded their authority to use force. These tragedies have routinely escalated racial tensions in the U.S. to a boiling point.
WHEREAS, B’nai B’rith cherishes the right to assembly, one of the cornerstones of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and respects the legal right of protesters to honor the memory of Mr. Floyd and to call out the injustices by Minneapolis police.
WHEREAS, B’nai B’rith appreciates the importance and necessity of having committed police personnel to protect communities and other individual, human and civil rights.
WHEREAS, B’nai B’rith also condemns the senseless destruction of businesses, including those long-owned and operated by private individuals, often people of color and immigrants who came to America to enjoy the freedoms of enterprise and commerce and provide outlets that people regard as essential to their lives.
WHEREAS, while police abuse and violence can harm anyone in the U.S., it disproportionately harms Black people, who are more likely than others to be shot and killed by police officers, Black and White.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that B’nai B’rith calls on the United States Congress to pass legislation aimed at reviewing and reforming aspects of police work that involve standards and procedures for the apprehension of and use of force against a suspect;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that police tactics that restrict the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain violate a suspect’s civil and basic human rights;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the federal criminal intent requirement in killings by police should include recklessness, not simply willfulness, in order to allow prosecutors to hold law enforcement accountable for the deprivation of civil rights and civil liberties;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that legislators and law enforcement officials should review, and revise where necessary, procedures and laws that attempt to reduce the number of repeat or habitual offenses;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that B’nai B’rith will use its extensive contacts in the civil rights community and the intercommunal and interreligious fields to strengthen relations between Jews, Black people, and other minorities and increase mutual understanding about issues of shared concern.