Congressman Cohen Questions Witnesses at a Hearing on Police Practices and Law Enforcement Accountability

June 10, 2020
Press Release
Asks about qualified immunity, independent prosecutors, deadly force database reforms

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, questioned witnesses today about police reform measures at a hearing on Police Practices and Law Enforcement Accountability.

On Monday, Congressman Cohen joined his colleagues in introducing the Justice in Policing Act, which incorporates his National Statistics on Deadly Force Transparency Act (H.R. 119), Police CAMERA Act (H.R. 120), and Police Training and Independent Review Act (H.R. 125). Congressman Cohen has championed these bills for several years.

In today’s hearing, Congressman Cohen focused on issues of liability for police misconduct, the need for independent review of alleged misconduct and the need for a national database of deadly force incidents.

In his questions to former New Orleans Mayor and National Urban League President Marc Morial, Congressman Cohen said:

“Part of this bill is a provision which Ms. (Vanita) Gupta (President and Chief Executive Officer, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights) had in her recommendations that an independent prosecutor would restore confidence in the public. Would it?”

Morial said the provision was “an essential element” in the proposed legislation. “This is a reform whose time has come,” he said.

See Congressman Cohen’s exchange with the witnesses here.

Witnesses at the hearing were, for the Majority:

  • Art Acevedo, Chief of the Houston Police Department and President, Major City Chiefs Association;
  • Paul Butler, Albert Brick Professor in Law, Georgetown University Law Center;
  • Benjamin Crump, Attorney for the Family of George Floyd;
  • Ron Davis, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives;
  • Philonise Floyd, Brother of George Floyd;
  • Phillip Goff, Franklin A. Thomas Professor of Policing Equality, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and President, Center for Policing Equity;
  • Vanita Gupta, President and Chief Executive Officer, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights;
  • Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; and
  • Marc Morial, President, National Urban League.


The witnesses invited at the request of the Minority were:

  • Daniel Bongino, Political Commentator and Former Secret Service Agent;
  • Darrell Scott, Pastor and Co-Founder, New Spirit Revival Center; and
  • Angela Underwood Jacobs, Sister of Federal Protective Officer David Underwood.