WASHINGTON—Today, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 39 groups sent a letter to the House of Representatives urging opposition to H.R. 115, the Thin Blue Line Act of 2017. The legislation purports to further protect police officers from being killed in the line of duty, but it does nothing to ensure officer safety or prevent officer deaths.
“We need policies that protect all Americans — police and civilians alike — and uphold a commitment to working together to build safe communities,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference. “H.R. 115, and others bills like it, only erode police-community relationships and don’t make law enforcement officers safer. Our current justice system’s application of the death penalty is overly punitive, costly and racially biased. This legislation would only exacerbate these aspects of the system and is counterproductive to ongoing efforts to put in place smart, commonsense reforms that will make the system more fair and efficient and keep Americans safe. The House should reject this bill.”
The letter on H.R. 115 states in part, “This legislation is an unnecessary and misguided attempt to politicize the unfortunate deaths of law enforcement officers and could ultimately exacerbate existing tension between law enforcement and the communities they serve, especially African Americans.” It also states, “In recent opinions where the Supreme Court has declared a congressional action unconstitutional, the Court has reminded Congress that it lacks ‘plenary police power.’”
The letter to the House on H.R. 115 is available here.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.