Published: June 10, 2020
By: Kathleen Peppo, LSU Manship School News Service
BATON ROUGE, La. – A proposal to establish a group to study law enforcement in Louisiana in response to national incidents of police brutality sparked a racially charged debate Wednesday among House committee members.
Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge, proposed the resolution, describing it as a call to study “a plethora of issues,” from civil service agreements to the use of force, involving policing across Louisiana.
The main source of the debate was the preamble to the resolution, in which James mentioned the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis who knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The preamble stated that the deaths of other black men by white police officers raised questions about the treatment of minorities in the criminal justice system.
The House Governmental Affairs Committee ultimately voted to remove the preamble from the resolution.
Rep. Dodie Horton, R-Haughton, was one of several Republicans who raised strong concerns about the language.
“I come from a law-enforcement family, and as a representative, I’ve never seen a more racist document than the one you brought,” Horton said.
She said she had “never been more insulted” since she took office than she was by the use of racial language in the resolution.
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