Declares Support for Black Lives Matter Protesters; ‘No Justice, No Peace’

WASHINGTON – Ahead of the historic House vote on H.R. 7120, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) paid tribute to activists and leaders in the decades-long fight against police brutality on the House Floor. She also expressed her support for the ongoing protests for justice on behalf of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, and countless other Black men and women who have been killed at the hands of police.

A transcript of her speech is below:

I rise to support H.R. 7120, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which bans chokeholds, creates a national police misconduct registry, and makes it easier to prosecute police for their brutality, among many other much needed provisions. Thank you to the leadership of the Congressional Black Caucus for bringing us to this moment.

The murder of George Floyd, and the pleasure the murdering officer seemed to take in his power over a struggling Black man, are nothing new. My heart broke when I first saw the video footage of the murder, not just for George Floyd and his loved ones, but also because this brutality, and all the police violence against Black men and women before it, have been used for centuries to terrorize, subjugate, and silence the Black community. 

I have been fighting against this since my first days as an activist and member of the California State Assembly, when I took on then-Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates, who popularized the chokehold maneuver, which killed over a dozen Black men in Los Angeles between 1975 and 1982. 

But now I would like to pay tribute to the brave men and women who for so many years have confronted bad cops, racist cops, brutal police chiefs, and the police protective leagues and unions who shield them from accountability. I want to pay special tribute to Angela Davis, Elaine Brown, and the Black Panthers who fought hard and sacrificed mightily fighting bad cops.

And then there is Rev. Al Sharpton, who took up the fight against bad cops and assisted [victims’] families in getting legal representation when these issues were not popular. 

I want to thank Rev. [Jesse] Jackson, who worked with me to confront the racist LA police chief Daryl Gates who popularized the chokehold and battering ram.

I want to thank Colin Kaepernick who took the knee and challenged the killings and beatings of unarmed Blacks.

And lastly, I want to thank Black Lives Matter: uncompromising, disruptive, energetic, and dedicated to undoing police killings and abuse.

I want to challenge the mayors and members of city councils and county commissioners who control police budgets to get the courage to reimagine what it means to serve and protect, and undo the system of rogue cops that has gone on for far too long.

And in closing, I want to say to the protesters, I stand with you. No justice, no peace!