The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is pushing President Barack Obama to mandate "sensitivity training" for police officers, The Hill reported.
Rep. Lacy Clay cited the fatal shooting of Michael Brown —
the 18-year-old Ferguson, Missouri, man killed in a confrontation with police last summer —
as evidence that police need more direction in their dealings with blacks and other groups, including immigrants and the mentally ill.
Clay, a Missouri Democrat, said he used a meeting between Obama and CBC members Tuesday to urge the president to support a new requirement for law enforcement agencies receiving grants from the Justice Department. The CBC wants any agency receiving the subsidies to certify "that all officers in their department have completed diversity training as it relates to minorities, the disabled, mentally ill persons and new immigrants whom they are sworn to protect and serve."
"These tragedies have illuminated, with the harsh light of truth, the deep divisions and very real disparities that we have yet to overcome as a nation," Clay said.
CBC leaders are pushing for Congress to enact a variety of criminal justice initiatives during the 114th Congress. These include requiring independent prosecutors in cases in which police use force and making changes to a federal program which provides surplus military weapons to local police.
CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield
said the group told Obama Tuesday that "we need to have some form of police training, not just body cameras —
body cameras are not going to get the job done."
Butterfield said, "we've got to have ways of getting better police officers on the street." The way to accomplish that "is with community policing and training —
sensitivity training," the North Carolina Democrat said.
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