VA Lawmakers in Washington Call for Investigation

Aug 21, 2014

Credit AP via NPR

There’s a debate among Virginia lawmakers who serve on the House Judiciary Committee over whether Congress should examine the use of force by police officers in the wake of the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

The riots and police clashes in Ferguson were sparked by the killing of unarmed teen Michael Brown, but that isn’t the only recent incident of police killing an unarmed suspect.

That has Democrats calling for hearings into the use of force by police nationwide. Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott is the top Democrat on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime. He says Congress needs to pressure local police forces into adopting techniques, like wearing cameras, which he says protect officers and citizens alike.

“Well, there are incidents all over the – all over the country. Every week someone is killed, and there are policing techniques that can significantly reduce the incidence of this happening.”  

To get a hearing on the docket Scott and other Democrats will need to convince Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte.  

He chairs the House Judiciary Committee and is resisting calls for hearings. A House Judiciary aide says Goodlatte “supports the ongoing efforts to conduct a thorough investigation of the events surrounding the death of Michael Brown.”

The aide says “the Committee will be monitoring the results of the investigation and surrounding events.”