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Sister of officer murdered in riots testifies, embraces George Floyd’s brother at House hearings

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Former congressional candidate Angela Underwood Jacobs testified at the House Judiciary Committee hearing on police reform.

The member of the Lancaster, Calif., city council was called as a witness by Republicans Wednesday in the first public congressional hearing since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.


(Source: C-SPAN)

The House Judiciary Committee described the hearing’s intent “to examine the crisis of racial profiling, police brutality and lost trust between police departments,” and follows the introduction of sweeping reforms unveiled Monday in proposed legislation by House Democrats.

“As a nation, as a people, we must come together to defeat fear, hate, prejudice and violence,” Underwood-Jacobs began in her statement Wednesday.

“I want to ensure the memory of my brother Patrick is a catalyst against injustice, intolerance, and violence of any kind. I want to honor my brother, Dave Patrick Underwood, and our family and help our nation think about how to navigate the righteous path to equality, freedom, and nonviolent systemic change,” she added, referring to her brother who was murdered amid the recent riots in Oakland, Calif.

The 53-year-old federal law enforcement officer was shot and killed by someone in a vehicle while he was on guard duty outside a federal courthouse in Oakland on May 30.

Underwood-Jacobs, the first black woman elected to the Lancaster City Council, extended her condolences to the members of George Floyd’s family who were in attendance at the hearing,

(Image: screenshot)

In her statement, she noted that the death of the 46-year-old after a police officer pressed his knee against his neck during an arrest was “just not cruel, reprehensible, but criminal.”

She embraced and spoke with Floyd’s brothers following the testimony.

(Image: screenshot)

“The officers involved should be brought to justice and held accountable for their actions as well as their inaction. I wish that same justice for my brother Patrick, who served with distinction and honor as a federal officer for the Department of Homeland Security until he was murdered anonymously by blind violence on the steps of the federal courthouse in Oakland, California,” Underwood-Jacobs said in the hearing.

“As he took his last breath, on the cold, hard cement after being shot multiple times, he died. Fear, hatred, ignorance, and blind violence snatched the life of my brother Patrick from all of us,” she said.

“America is in pain and she is crying. Can you hear her? I am here to seek justice to the chaos for my brother Patrick, for George Floyd, for citizens of all colors, for communities across America, and for the police officers that protect those communities and their citizens every day,” Underwood-Jacobs told the lawmakers.

“The actions of a few are dividing us as a nation. At a time when we should be coming together and uniting for the well-being of all people, we will never solve injustice with looting, burning, destruction of property, and killing in the name of justice,” she said, adding that “this is greater than a black, white, or blue issue. It is a humanity issue.”

“When those in a position of authority choose to abuse their power, that is the very definition of oppression. And when innocent people are harmed in the name of justice, no one prevails. We all lose,” she said.

She noted that although police brutality must not be tolerated, it is “blatantly wrong” to use it as an excuse to loot and riot, as has been the case across major U.S. cities in the wake of Floyd’s death. She also called out recent knee-jerk demands to defund police departments.

“It is a ridiculous solution to proclaim defunding police departments is the solution to police brutality and discrimination. Because it is not a solution,” Underwood-Jacobs said, contending that the “straightforward” answer to the problems is simply education.

“We need to actually invest in education again and make it our nation’s top priority,” she said, noting how it will lead to more and better jobs, thus breaking a cycle of injustice.

She pleaded with lawmakers to act and not let her brother’s death be in vain, as she shared that he had an “infectious laugh and a corny sense of humor.”

“He would go out of his way to help family, friends, and strangers. He did not deserve to die in such a horrendously inhumane way. No one does. Now my family is in a state of hollow disarray,” she added, holding back tears.

“I wholeheartedly urge us all, all Americans, not to get into hate and anger but to resolve conflict with kindness and love, to lead with a sense of purpose and renewed energy, to create positive change,” Underwood-Jacobs concluded. “My wish is for us to live and live without fear and discrimination. Do not simply tolerate your neighbor, but strive to understand one another. We will be a better, more just society for all.”

Frieda Powers

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