WASHINGTON (WCCO/AP) — Philonise Floyd challenged Congress on Wednesday to "stop the pain" so that his brother George wouldn't be just "another name" on a growing list of those killed during interactions with police.
Floyd's appearance before a House hearing came a day after funeral services for his bother, the 46-year-old Minnesota man whose death has become a worldwide symbol in demonstrations over calls for changes to police practices and an end to racial prejudices.
"I'm here today to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain," Philonise Floyd told the silenced hearing room. "George wasn't hurting anyone that day. He didn't deserve to die over twenty dollars. I am asking you, is that what a black man's life is worth? Twenty dollars?"
Choking back tears, he said he wants to make sure that his brother, whom he called "Perry," is "more than another face on a t-shirt. More than another name on a list that won't stop growing.
Floyd directly challenged lawmakers to step up. "The people marching in the streets are telling you enough is enough. Be the leaders that this country, this world, needs. Do the right thing."
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler gaveled in the session as Democrats review the Justice in Policing Act, a far-ranging package of proposals amid a national debate on policing and racial inequity in the United States.
Lawmakers will also hear testimony from civil rights and law enforcement leaders at the congressional hearing on proposed changes to police practices and accountability after the Minnesota man's death in police custody and the worldwide protests that followed.
"Today we answer their call," Nadler said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi watched from the hearing audience and the GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy joined on the dais.
Republicans are rushing to draft their own proposal but also criticizing calls from activists across the country who want to "defund the police" -- a catch-all term for re-imagining law enforcement, but one that President Trump and his allies have seized on to portray Democrats as extreme.
"The American people understand that it's time for a real discussion," said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the ranking Republican on the panel. But he said what they also understand, Jordan said, is that "it is pure insanity to defund the police."
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