WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep. Greg Stanton provided remarks today during the House Judiciary Committee’s oversight hearing on policing practices and law enforcement accountability.  His statement as prepared for delivery is below:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  And thank you for moving quickly to hold this necessary hearing during a time of significant pain for our nation.  And I want to recognize and thank Congresswoman Bass for her leadership to heal that pain. The “Justice in Policing Act” is an essential first step. 

Mr. Floyd, I offer my deepest condolences to you and your family.  I can’t imagine how difficult the last two weeks have been, and it is courageous that you are here today.  Just yesterday, you laid your brother to rest. But his murder is a tragic reminder that we cannot rest. We have work to do so that George Floyd, and Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Walter Scott, Antonio Arce, and too many others will not have died in vain, and that their lives spur us to action. 

It has been more than 400 years since enslaved Africans were first brought to America’s shores, shackled and sold.  We are in the midst of a reckoning and facing a very difficult truth: That since that moment, there has not been a single day in which the maxim that our founders knew to be “self evident,” “that all men are created equal,” has been fully recognized by our country for Black Americans.  Not a single day in which “equal justice under the law” has been fully experienced by Black Americans.  There is no greater tragedy in our history.  

Our generation has a choice: We can sustain America’s original sin or we can redeem her and be repairers of the breach.  

I recognize that the ability to end racism in our country is beyond the reach of this committee.  We don’t have the power to change every person’s heart and mind.  But what we can do is address structural racism and enact tangible measures of transparency and accountability in policing that can help make everyone more safe.   

This is a charge that every level of government must take up – from those of us in Congress to everyone who serves on a city council.  

During my time as the mayor of my hometown, we started a Community Police Trust Initiative – which earned recognition from the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice. We enhanced de-escalation training for our officers. Rewrote the guidelines for interacting with the immigrant community. We started putting body-worn cameras on officers on patrol. And then, when we saw the results, we budgeted for every officer on the beat to wear a camera. 

But I’ll be the first to tell you: There’s more work to do in every state, in every city, in every community in America.  

I want to ask our distinguished panel specifically about body-worn cameras.  In 2014, research by Arizona State University found that officers wearing body cameras were more aware of their actions and sensitive to possible scrutiny of the footage by their superiors. 

I believe that every police officer on patrol in America ought to be wearing a body-worn camera.

Full video of Rep. Stanton’s comments and his questions to the panel is available here.