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tv   U.S. House Morning Hour  CSPAN  May 19, 2015 10:00am-12:01pm EDT

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that are posted in front of you when you go to buy it, which you do all the time. we have had relief in gas prices, though they are starting to creep back up a little. absolutely doing another piece on the transit expectations would be good. host: jim tankersley's piece could be found on the "washington post," website. that is . he covers economics. we go to the u.s. house already in progress. the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the chair lays before the house a communication from the speaker. the clerk: the speaker's room washington d.c., may 19, 2015. i hereby appoint the honorable mike bust to act as speaker pro tempore on this day. signed, john a. boehner, speaker of the house of representatives.
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the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the order of the house of january 6, 2015, the chair will now recognize members from lists submitted by the majority and minority leaders for morning hour debate. the chair will alternate recognition between the parties with each party limited to one hour and each member other than the majority and minority leaders and the minority whip limited to five minutes but in no event shall debate continue beyond 11:50 a.m. the chair recognizes the gentleman from north carolina, mr. jones, for five minutes. mr. jones: mr. speaker last week "the washington post" ran a storied titled, "defense firm that employed drunk, hire contractors in afghanistan may have wasted $135 million in taxpayers' dollars." kobe writes and i quote, the defense contractor investigated
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in 2012 after cell phone videos surfaced of this employee drunk and high on drugs in afghanistan may have misused almost $135 million of taxpayers' money, the audit finds. "the hill" further reported that, and i quote, the company also did not comply with federal procurement law the audit also found. mr. speaker, i've been coming down to this floor for weeks to highlight the waste, fraud and abuse in afghanistan, which john the special inspector general for afghan reconstruction, has reported its -- it's worse now than ever. the national defense authorization act the house passed last week authorized $42 billion for afghanistan, which one of the reasons i did not vote for the bill. why do we continue to spend billions of american taxpayers' dollars in afghanistan when infrastructure all over the
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united states is rapidly deteriorating? the past week here "60 minutes" reported that 70,000 bridgets in the united states had been deemed structurely deficient. according to the federal government. that's one bridge out of every nine. my constituents in eastern north carolina continually experience frustration and concern over the boner bridge, which has fallen apart. this further highlights the waste and the failed policy in afghanistan. i know some of my members of congress will be upset. i'm calling attention to the reckless spending in afghanistan. the ndaa authorized but then why doesn't congress stop sending billions of dollars to a failed state where young american men and women are being wounded and killed? mr. speaker including the father of these two little girls who are on the poster
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beside me. their name is eden and stephanie. their father, was shot and killed in afghanistan two years ago by the afghan he was training. oh mr. speaker it just gets worse and worse. those wasted billions of dollars should be allocated to fix american bridges and roads from falling apart and endangering american citizens. it's the right thing to do. mr. speaker let me remind the american people that last year the obama administration signed a 10-year bilateral security agreement that afghanistan for 10 more years, strapping us with 10 more years of waste, fraud and abuse, 10 more years of billions of dollars being wasted, 10 more years while the infrastructure in america is collapsing, 10 more years of veterans worrying about their
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benefits. so many needs here in america, so many needs that are not being met because we are wasting money overseas in afghanistan. mr. speaker, congress should debate and vote to stop the madness in afghanistan on behalf of our soldiers and our men and women in uniform, their families and the taxpayers of america. mr. speaker, it has been said many times that afghanistan is a grave yard of empires. i hope there is a head stone for america because that is where we are heading, to the graveyard in afghanistan, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from oregon, mr. blumenauer, for five minutes. mr. blumenauer: thank you, mr. speaker. after a rocky start this congress, we've seen some signs of progress. earlier this session, the house leadership allowed the process to work when all democrats
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joined many republicans to rescue homeland security from the potential disastrous shutdown by cutting off funds. later, a decade-long struggle on the medicare sustainible growth rate, the -- sustainable growth rate, the so called doc fix the impasse that lasted for years was broken and the solution was overwhelmingly approved by members of both parties. well, now we're facing yet another impasse one that has haunted us far longer than a decade -- transportation funding. the authority to spend for surface transportation programs expires may 31. just as i predicted last summer the stopgap approach that we approved then would put us right back in the same spot this spring, cutting badly needed transportation projects this summer and the jobs that go with them. america's falling apart and
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falling behind in part because you cannot pay for 2015 transportation needs with 1993 dollars, which was the last time we raised the gas tax. 32 short-term funding extensions are evidence of a bipartisan failure for these 22 years to deal with the gas tax and there is no meaningful alternative for transportation resources on the horizon. yet, ironically the solution is clear, thoroughly studied and broadly supported -- raise the gas tax for the first time since 1993. the house republican leadership doesn't have to do anything extraordinary, just allow the ways and means committee to follow regular order. let's listen to the experts, invite the stakeholders that build, maintain and use our transportation system. listen to the heads of the afl-cio, the u.s. chamber of commerce leaders in transit, truckers, a.a.a. bicyclists
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all who agree with presidents eisenhower who used the gas tax to start the highway trust fund and the interstate freeway system, and president ronald reagan who increased the gas tax a nickel, more than doubling it in 1992. in fact, we can invite legislators from today. six red republican states have raised the gas tax already this year -- nebraska georgia, idaho, iowa utah, south dakota . state senator michael bailey comes to mind. the key is to have real hearings like congress used to conduct. have a full week of debating the transportation crisis. bring in the witness, grill them, test their thoughts and theories, discuss real solutions, not gimmicks or ideologically driven fantasies. let's have serious work sessions and a markup.
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president kennedy -- president obama could help by establishing a marker that he will approve no further extensions past september 31. it will not be less complex, expensive or easier politically in 2016, 2017 or 2018. if this slides until 2016, which is the approach evidently favored by the republican leadership, we will be struggling with this in the next congress and the next administration. this does not have to be an exercise in futility. we're seeing the leadership exhibited all across the country with 20 states that have stepped up, and as i mentioned, six red states already this year. now is the time for congress to do its job. in fact if we do our job, taking the solution that's been thoroughly vetted studied and widely supported by interest groups across the political spectrum, we're going to be able to solve this funding
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conundrum. we are going to be able to rebuild and renew america, putting hundreds of thousands of people to work at family wage jobs while congress helps make our families safer healthier and more economically secure. i strongly urge that the house reject the approach that would simply dodge this problem for two more months then slide until the end of the year and beyond. we should call the question now, establish the parameters. this is something that is long overdue, that all of us can embrace and america will be the better for it. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from north carolina, mr. holding, for five minutes. mr. holding: mr. speaker, the challenges we face today are different from the challenges we faced when mental health awareness month began decades ago. but now it's more important than ever that we take time out of our busy schedules to speak
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about the prevalence of mental illness and understand the importance as friends, as family members and as a community of discussing common signs of mental illness. mr. speaker, you may be surprised to learn, as i was that one in five adults experience mental health problems each year. and while each illness is unique there are some common signs that you or a loved one could be suffering from mental illness. like difficulty concentrating or experiencing a change in sleeping habits. and as parents, we must make an effort to talk to our children about their emotions and their mental health, just as we care for our children's physical health by encouraging them to eat well, get enough sleep and exercise frequently. without a doubt, mr. speaker america's one of the most blessed countries in the world. we are all offered the opportunities for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. raising healthy families both physically and mentally is one
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of the responsibilities that comes with those freedoms. see mr. speaker, the more voices we have speaking up about mental health the better we can eliminate stigma surrounding mental health conditions. the national alliance on mental illness north carolina is asking individuals in my home state, north carolina, to see the person and not the illness and pledge to be stigma-free. it's time to end the silence stigma often linked with mental health conditions and i join them happily in this effort. thank you mr. speaker, and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia mr. scott, for five minutes. mr. scott: thank you very much mr. speaker. mr. speaker, ladies and gentlemen b.b. king, a musical genius, has passed away.
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you know when b.b. king was just a little boy down in indianola mississippi, he stood up in the middle of a cotton field and he said, one day somebody's going to stand up and sing about me and play the guitar about me. and then he said, you know, i reckon it will be myself. yeah, i reckon it will be me. and b.b. king went on to become a worldwide icon of music and people all over the world, regardless of race, creed or color, appreciated and loved b.b. king. and b.b. king influenced all
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the great ones, from frank sinatra to elvis presley, and elvis presley loved b.b. king. areith are a franklin, sam -- aretha franklin, sam cook, mick jagger even the beetles and muddy -- beatles and muddy waters, bo diddley all of these people were influenced by b.b. king. b.b. king sung about the deep things of life. he sung about love, love lost and loved gained. for b.b. king he sang and he played the blues.
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a unique american cultural musical genre b.b. king. and ladies and gentlemen, you know b.b. king would say trouble in mind i'm blue but i won't be blue always he would sing, because the sun is going to shine in my back door someday. i'm all alone at midnight and the lights are burning low but the sun is going to shine in my back door someday. and mr. speaker, you know the great classic of so many classics that he wrote and he sang was "the thrill is gone." as he would say, the thrill is gone away but mr. speaker, the thrill of b.b. king and his
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life and his music and his great contributions as a genuine american hero will live on and on for generations to come. b.b. king's music will b.b. king's music will live on and lucille, his guitar, will live on. ladies and gentlemen, mr. speaker we thank god jee hoe have a god almighty -- jehovah god almighty for sending b.b. king our way. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. mcclintock, for five minutes. mr. mcclintock: mr. speaker, a
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large and respected iranian expatriate community hat settled in california and has been -- it's been my privilege to o get to know some of them in recent years. they are part of an international diaspora of five million people who fled iran after it fell to islamic fascism 36 years ago. the stories they tell are blood curdling. one woman told of her cousin who had been rounded up in an anti-government demonstration and taken to prison. after several years, the families were informed that their loved ones were to be released in the town square. when the excited families arrived for their long awaited reunion, their sons were hanged before their eyes. a doctor told me of his college days in paris. he called home to tell his mother in tehran about an anti-khomeini demonstration. his brother was promptly arrested torture, and imprisoned for simply listening. a few months ago, after many years of silence, the brother in
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america received a call from his brother in iran, wanted to tell him of the simmering unrest going on throughout that country. the american brother told him to shut up. remember what happened the last time they had spoken so candidly. his brother in tehran said, i don't care anymore. they can't arrest all of us. all of the iranian expatriate i spoke with tell me the same thing. the economic sanctions and international isolation of the regime was bringing iran to the brink of revolution. this brings us to the president's negotiation with iran's fascist islamic regime. any agreement between iran's leaders and the united states is meaningless because iran's leaders' word is meaningless. iran's government is a notoriously untrustworthy rogue state that has made it
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unmistakably clear that it intends to acquire nuclear weapons and once acquired, to use them. the only way to avert this nightmare short of war is for the regime to collapse from within. over the last several years, the iranian opposition has grown dramatically for two reasons. there is a strong and growing perception among the iranian people that the iranian dictatorship is a pariah in the international community and the resulting international economic sanctions have created conditions that make the regime's overthrow imperative. at precisely this moment in history, barack obama did incal clue labble damage by initiating these negotiations. by engaging this rogue state, president obama has given it international recognition and legitimacy at just that moment when it had lost legitimacy in the eyes of its own people.
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worse, by promising relief from economic sanctions, he has removed the most compelling reason the organized iranian resistance had to justify the regime's overthrow. it is not the outcome of the negotiations that matters because any agreement with iran's conniving leaders is is -- is meaningless. it is the negotiations themselves that have greatly strengthened the regime just as when it was most vulnerable from growing opposition among its own people. the house just passed h.r. 1191, that reports to restore congressional oversight to these talks. i believe it completely missed the point. first, our constitution requires that any treaty be approved by 2/3 of the senate. that wasn't going to happen so mr. obama simply redefined the perspective treaty as agreement between leaders. an agreement with no force of law or legal standing. i fear that congress has just changed this equation by establishing wholly extra
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constitutional process that lends the prima ture of congress to these negotiations with no practical way to stop the lifting of sanctions. instead of 2/3 of the senate having to approve the treaty as the constitution requires, this agreement takes effect automatically unless 2/3 of both houses reject it. a complete sham. but worse, i fear this bill gives tacit approval to extremely harmful negotiations that congress, instead, ought to vigorously condemn and unam big ewesly -- unam bigously repudiate. we hope they'll regain the national leadership required to prevent these negotiations from producing what amounts to the munich accords for the middle east. that will require treating the iranian dictatorship as the international pariah it is. and it will pro-- providing every ounce of support to the iranian opposition they need to
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rid their nation of this fascist islamic dictatorship to restore their proud heritage, and retake their place among the civilized nations of the world. yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr. quigley, for five minutes. mr. kwlig: thank you, mr. speaker. -- mr. quigley: thank you mr. speaker. mark twain once said actions speak louder than words but not nearly as often. since last week's amtrak accident, we have heard plenty of words of pressures and 8 and investments needed inure infrastructure. it's time for congress to put its money where its mouth is. we know how to prevent tragic accidents like the one that happened last week. we even mandated new technology, called positive train control, that would have prevented it. what congress has refused to do is pay to actually get it done. positive train control is a game changer for rail safety.
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the technology would have likely prehaven'ted 140 train accidents that cost more than 280 deaths and $300 million in property damage since 1969. but this safety technology is also incredibly complex and expensive to implement. we have mandated technology that's expected to cost billions and we are forcing the nation's railroads to foot the entire bill. much of this last week's focus has been on amtrak. but despite last week's accident amtrak is actually on target to implement positive train control by the end of the year. for the already cash strapped commuter railroads across the country, it's a different story. for them, congress' refusal to fund the control has stopped it in its tracks. it's cost the railroads nearly $3.5 billion. it's no wonder over 70% of commuter railroads won't receive
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positive train control implementation before this year's deadline. our commuter railroads are integral to the daily community of -- commute to millions of americans. amtrak annual ridership pales in comparison to our commuter railroad. while amtrak carries 30 million. commuter rail roads carry close to 500 million. in the chicago area alone metro's ridership last year was over 80 million. with numbers like that, how can congress justify mandating a policy that they know commuter railroads simply cannot afford while providing very little funding to help them do it? this unfunded mandate is forcing rails to satisfy other investment -- sacrifice other investments crucial to railroad safety and efishency. 50% of commuter railroads are currently deferring other capital investments to implement positive train control. what happens when the commuter's unable to implement this technology before the end of
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this year? they get penalized, fined, instead of giving money to commuters to pay for p.t.c., the federal government is actually going to end up collecting money from them for not being able to afford to do so. for good reason, congress mandated incredibly important and incredibly expensive new technology. it's amounted to a lot of words and very little action. the same 2008 law that mandated p.t.c. also authorized $50 million a year in rail safety technology grants to help amtrak and commuter railroads pay for this implementation. but in the seven years since the law has passed, congress has only appropriated funding once. 50 million a year wasn't enough then and it sure not enough now. that's why i introduced a bill with congressman lipinski in march to re-authorize p.t.c. funding at $200 million a year. it's time for congress to finish what it started. it's time for congress to get
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serious about investing in our nation's infrastructure. and it's time for congress to help our commuter railroads implement positive train control and prevent the kind of tragedies we saw on amtrak last week. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from colorado, mr. tipton, for five minutes. mr. tipton: mr. speaker, i rise today to honor mr. max denby. he's a former congressional intern from my office, a university of colorado senior, and outstanding young man of character who was recently recognized by his community and local police for an act of heroism. an act when he stopped which he stopped a sexual assault in progress on his school campus. he's a dedicated student, pursuing a degree in accounting at c.u. he fills his time outside of the classroom with extracurricular
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activities such as internships and works as a handler at c.u. which helps helping to manage the school mascot. late one evening he was walking on campus when he happened to come across in what looked to be an attempted sexual assault. acting with bravely and determination he took action and ran off the attacker. referencing the confrontation with the attacker, he humbly stated, i was able to be in the right place at the right time and do the right thing. by intervening, max put himself in harm's way to help the victim. and his act of selflessness drastically reduced the irreparable damage that the criminal was intent on causing. mr. speaker, his selfless act should not go unnoticed. he serves as an admirable example of what young men of character should be. by putting others before himself, and by intervening to stop the crime without hesitation, he made his community and campus a safer place. on behalf of the third
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congressional district in the state of colorado, i would like to thank mr. denby for his selfless act of bravery. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back of the the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. mcgovern, for five minutes. mr. mcgovern: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. mcgovern: mr. speaker, at the end of march i had the privilege of spending some time with the highland valley elder services meals on wheels program in north hampton, massachusetts, as part of their march for meals month to raise awareness about senior hunger. i began my visit in the kitchen at the walter elder house where an average of 550 healthy meals are prepared from scratch every week day for delivery to home bound seniors and disabled residents. i had the opportunity to chat with highland valley director alan and nutrition program director, nancy. then i helped volunteer to drive
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to pack up the meals and insulate the coolers. this day's meal was homemade chicken yoffered in gravey, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, apple sauce and milk. the food looked and smell delicious. reminded me of what my grandmother used to make. joined arthur on his end one root making stops at 15 homes in north hampton. at each stop i had the opportunity to deliver the meal and chat with the residents. it was an eye opening experience and i thoroughly enjoyed hearing people's stories. each meal delivered contains 1/p of the daily nutritional recommendations. for many individuals the meal they receive from meals on wheels is the only well-balanced meal they eat all day. the individuals who receive these meals are low income and often have significant health challenges that make it simply too difficult to prepare a full meal, never mind going to the grocery store to shop. one of the most interesting
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things i learned from my visit is that meals on wheels is so much more than just a meals program. people who are home bound, many who live alone, look forward to the brief daily visits from the volunteers. these visits lift their spirits and alou them to socialize -- allow them to socialize, and volunteers can check in and see how they are doing. because of programs like wheels meals on wheels seniors can stay in their own homes whe comfortable and live independently longer. mr. speaker we talk about food insecurity in this country, nearly everybody talks about children. we are right to want to do everything we can to end childhood hunger. but lost in that narrative is the reality that many -- that among the food insecure the rising population is seniors. . 5.3 million seniors who don't have enough to eat. many are living on fixed incomes that often force them to choose between prescriptions and food and paying their
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medical bills or heating their homes. seniors and the disabled represent about 20% of those who receive supplemental nutrition assistant program, or snap benefits. the average snap benefit with households for seniors is a meager $134 per month. unfortunately, we also know that eligible elderly households are much less likely to participate in snap than other eligible households. many seniors may not realize that they qualify for assistance or they may simply be reluctant to ask for help. seniors have unique nutritional needs. hunger is especially dangerous for seniors and can exacerbate underlying medical conditions. food insecure seniors are at increased risk for conditions like depression, heart attack, diabetes and high blood pressure. mr. speaker may is older americans month and national organizations like feeding america, the nationwide network of food banks are focused on raising awareness about senior hunger through their
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#solveseniorhunger social media campaign. in july we'll mark the 50th anniversary of the older americans act which provides a range of critical services including meals on wheels, that enable about 11 million older adults to stay independent as long as possible. to honor that significant anniversary, i'd hope that congress will pass a strong re-authorization of o.a.a. programs, which have been flat funded over the past decade and without a long-term authorization since 2011. demand for o.a.a. programs and services continues to rapidly increase as our population ages, and to think that more and more seniors will experience hunger is heartbreaking. it is unacceptable in this country. mr. speaker, i'm proud to represent the wonderful people and the work they do at highland valley elder services throughout western massachusetts. every day they are making the lives of seniors a little better and a little brighter. we in congress should do our part to ensure that nation's --
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our nation's seniors don't go hungry. we should pass a strong authorization of the older americans act and we should reject harmful cuts to snap that will disproportionately harm children, seniors and the disabled. we should ask the white house to hold a meeting on hunger to come up with a comprehensive plan to end hunger in this country. we can and should do more to end hunger now. i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york, mr. reed, for five minutes. mr. reed: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker i rise today to highlight an issue that's coming upon us very quickly. mr. speaker, many people across the nation have talked about social security and medicare and the trust fund's gone bankrupt for the retirement fund and medicare sometime in 2033, 2034. but mr. speaker, there is a more impending crisis coming
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down upon us. the social security disability trust fund is scheduled to go insolvent in 2016. that means if we do nothing, what's going to happen in 2016 is millions of americans across this nation who receive those life-saving disability benefits monthly will see a reduction in their men bits to the tune of 20% to 2 -- benefits to the tune of 20% to 21%. that's unacceptable mr. speaker. i questioned our treasury secretary jack leu and i said, you know this question is on the hor eyes only and i read your testimony to this committee of ways and means and i read the president's entire budget and i said nowhere in there is a solution or a reference to this impending crisis. what's the solution the white house is offering? and simply what they propose is they are going to take the portion of our payroll taxes
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that goes to social security retirement that is paid by future retirees and use the $270 billion necessary to bail out the disability trust fund. mr. speaker, before i came to congress i had a private business. if you talk to any small business owner across america what they will tell you is it's robbing peter to pay paul, because the social security retirement trust fund is on that same path to insolvency in 2033. so why would you take from one and use it to bail out another when both programs are in dire straits? so mr. speaker, i said to jack lou this year when i had an opportunity to question him that's unacceptable, i said to him. we need to do better. not only in order to protect the social security retirees, which are near and dear to me, but also to those in the disability community, that rely on these benefits. the disability trust fund hasn't been reformed for
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decades. i care about those individuals deeply and when i see disabled folks coming into my office, as i reached out to stakeholder groups and had conversations and what they tell me is they have a disability trust fund program that essentially penalizes them for trying to go back to work. that doesn't make sense. we should be standing with the disability community. if they have a capacity and a willingness and desire to go back to work, our policies here in washington, d.c., should say we are going to stand with you and we are going to encourage you and we are going to applaud you, not penalize you, for doing that. so mr. speaker, i rise today to say this crisis needs to be dealt with. it is time to lead, and what we're looking for is input from across the country on ideas on how we can reform the disability trust fund protect our social security retirees to the extent we possibly can and make sure that we have a disability trust fund that is
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designed and performing in the 21st century. a trust fund that says to the disabled community, we are with you and we're going to stand next to you and we're going to give you the resources you need in order to live a great and fruitful life and at the same time we're going to look at our social security retirees and say to them, we're going to protect you and if we can't fix this crisis coming upon us in 2016, mr. speaker how in god's name can we fix the crisis of medicare and social security that are coming upon us in 2033 and thereabouts? those are millions of americans that deserve a better answer than kicking the can down the road. it's time to lead and i rise today to ask all my colleagues to join me in that leadership role. with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yield it's back. -- yields back. pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess until noon today.
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>> many states mandate peace officer certification and standards for hiring and training, most states exert limited control over their local law enforcement. outside of consent degrees and contribution or withholding of federal funds, the influence of the federal government on local policing is also limited. the bottom line is there is no single description of the police
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culture and practice. the challenges faced by police departments vary widely and the control and oversight of our police is exclusively local. the second major factor to consider is that police departments do not operate independently. in most cities, police chiefs are hired or fired by the mayor or another elected municipal executive. most sheriffs are elected by the voters that they are sworn to protect and serve. while police -- when police exert control over citizens, they do so at the behest of an official elected by the people. crime control strategies do emerge in isolation nor do decisions about police bibblet. those decisions are made by independently elected offices and prosecutors. the scrutiny begins and ends with the police department with little examination of those factors outside the agency that influence priorities and practices. the importance of a broader focus of inquiry was imillustrated in the recent
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examination of the government practices in the city of ferguson. the find igs serve as a powerful example of the influence of governing forces outside of the police department itself. ideas for improving policing in the 21st century need to consider both of these major factors. most changes in policies and procedures must be adopted by local government in order to be implemented. for example, the requirement to use body worn cameras must consider local and state laws related to the gathering, management and disclosure of data as well as local and state laws protecting individual privacy. these changes will take time, require a great deal of cooperation, and in some cases the barriers may be insurmountable. there arers, however, meaningful steps that can be taken at various levels of government without changing laws. these steps will improve the culture of policing and expand police training in ways that contribute to increased public trust and improve safety. the recommendations of the
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president's task force range -- contain a full range of action that is can be implemented immediately and some that are more long-term strategies. one of the areas of focus contained in the recommendations relate to the police training. i sent to you a copy of an academic report that i co-authored. it was published by the kennedy school at harvard and published by the national institute of justice. this paper expounds on the importance of addressing the leadership culture in police departments and suggests a path toward improving culture through effective training. i hope these ideas will be beneficial as this committee committee explores ways to improve policing in the 21st century. thank you very much. mr. good lath: thank you, ms. rahr. >> distinguished members of the complete. my name is matthew barge, vice president and deputy director of the police assessment resource center. for 14 years park has provided independent counsel to upward of
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0 police agencies and communities, helping them solve problems and incorporate best practices on effective safe and constitutional policing. i want to thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. some have wondered whether local police agencies are capable of transforming or repairing trust of the communities they serve. i'm here to tell you that police departments can change and are changing. real reform is difficult and messy work but agencies can put in place the systems, the polcy and culture necessary to self-manage the risk of unconstitutional policing and enhance community confidence. some agencies affirmatively seek reform. the voluntary implementation of recommendations in portland, oregon, for example led to significant decreases in use of force and complaints about police. without increases in crime or officer injury. however, local law enforcement is not always good as self-identifying problems. i work daily with police officer
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who represent public service at its most selfless and laudable. but the departments where they work often resemble what might happen if a stereotypical department of motor vehicles ran the u.s. military. inefishen, inent -- inept bureaucracy. this produces a culture often resistent to new approaches, transparency and real accountability. where issues fester, the u.s. department of justice may exercise the authority granted by this body to conduct an investigation into alleged patterns of misconduct where allegations are substaniated, a federal court overseeing a consent degree may result. the process is akin to emergency open heart surgery for police departments. it addresses serious systemic issues and is used collectively and -- selectively and critical moments. currently d.o.j.'s enforce 10 consent degrees. addressing the seattle police department where i serve as the deputy.
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regardless of how reform is initiated, the bedrock of policing in the 21st century must be a strong, responsive relationship between the nation's police departments and the communities they serve. to theand, a common playbook specific real world reforms is emerging for promoting public and officer safety, efficiency, constitutional rights, and public trust. first, officers need more specific guidelines on using force in the real world. the bearer often beg rarmentse of courts in this area may work for judges in the comforts of their courtrooms, but officers in communities need clear and more pragmatic rules. second departments need internal mechanisms for critical self-analysis. for instance, a standard d.o.j. consent degree reform is the creation of a dedicated board for critically evaluating all uses of force so a department can continually update policy and procedure and training in light of real world lessons learned. likewise, permanent civilian oversight mechanisms can give
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communities a real time check and important say in how policing is conducted. third, too many agencies have no idea what their officers are doing. if data exists on use of force or stop activity it's often inaccurate inaccessible, or ignored. policing in the 21st century needs to take full advantage of the information systems that we take for granted, and many other areas of public and private life. fourth in the cities where we work, we continually hear from individuals that the weights and burdens of law enforcement are not equally shared and there is some empirical evidence to support that proposition. the challenge for police departments is to find ways of addressing an issue that at minimum is deeply affecting the police community relationship. forward thinking departments are providing officers with training on minimizing the effects of implicit bias and person-based decisionmaking. modern american policing faces an era of unparalleled challenges with too many communities viewing the police
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as them rather than us. the challenge of law enforcement agencies must embrace is to implement the kinds of commonsense steps that might enhance accountability and enhance public trust. with that i thank you again for the opportunity to be here. mr. good what the: thank you mr. barge. ms. ramirez, welcome. ms. a myrrh rest: thank you -- ms. ramirez: thank you, chairman goodlatte, ranking member conyers, and the house committee on the judiciary. the police killing of michael brown and eric garner in july and august of 2014, have triggered protests not only in the cities in which those killings occurred, but also throughout this country. since those shootings there have been others. ready gray in baltimore and walter scott in south carolina. it's plain to me and i expect to all of you today here, that
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these protests are not just about the unwillingness to prosecute all but one of those officers nor these shootings -- for these shootings, but about a long, simmering resentment in the african-american and latino communities that the criminal law applies differently to them than it does to white americans. that the police too often stop and frisk latino and african-american youths with impunity and without reasonable arparticular labble suspicions. that automobiles driven by african-americans especially in white neighborhoods, are too often stopped by police for driving while black. that the death of a black man at the hands of police is seen as more forgivable than the death of a white man. the prosecutors are less willing to see hispanic and african-american defendants as
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candidates for rehabilitation who deserve and need a break, and therefore they are more willing to press for mandatory sentences against them. and that more black men, age 18 to 21, are in prison or in jail than in college. we can and should debate how accurate the statistical studies are and how accurate these perceptions are. and whether they are more accurate in some states and municipalities than in others. but i think we can agree that these perceptions are accurate more often and in too many places than we would want them to be. and that the perception itself is a reason for great concern because beyond the statistical studies we cannot be one nation
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if a significant percentage of our community members believe they are receiving an inferior quality of justice or no justice at all. the protests have provided an impetus for change, but they can't produce change by themselves. we need to ensure that these protests are different from previous protests. and that they don't merely cry out for justice but actually lead to more justice. to accomplish that we need a road map for change. and we need to press our leaders in congress and elsewhere to follow that road map and travel to a place where justice is more and fairer. to move past these tragedies, we need to do some concrete things. first, we need to strengthen police community relations by
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creating community policing models focused on the development of partnerships between police organizations and the communities they serve. how? new infrastructure and architecture. infrastructure and architecture that might provide the coherence we need and the coherence we need to bring to this enterprise. we need to create in every state federally funded community policing institutes dedicated to creating the tools templates, training and best practices for bringing the police and the community members to the table for discussion on how best to keep their communities safe and strong. and we need to increase police transparency by letting the public know what the police are doing. and that can only occur when
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state and local police departments are required to keep data regarding police stops, searches, and shootings, and to record the rate of persons stopped, searched, or shot. why? because you can't possibly manage what you don't measure. transparency also means requiring police to install cruiser cameras, to wear body cameras, and to monitor police discretions to turn those cameras off. my last point is about accountability. which means that allegations of police misconduct or situations in which a police officer shoots a civilian should be handled by an independent inspector general. the investigation and prosecutorial decision should not rest in the hands of a
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district attorney dependent on that police department for its criminal investigations. past and future. so we need police community partnerships, a state institute to support them, cameras, data collection, and an independent inspector general to investigate police misconduct. the road map doesn't end here today at this table. the next part is the most difficult. how do we implement it? the system is broken. we need democrats and republicans to come together to craft a road map to justice and figure out how to fund and implement this. only then we'll be able to create stronger and safer communities. mr. goodlatte: thank you, ms. ramirez. i'll begin the questioning and start with sheriff clarke.
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do they want more or less of a police presence? sheriff clarke: they plane -- do they complain more about the actions of the police or inactions of the police? sheriff clarke: they ask for more. they complain about both. and i think that's human nature. they want safer neighborhoods. they want safer communities. they know they are going to have to have assertive policing in these high crime areas to get that done. it's situational. they complain about slow calls for service responses, things like that. which can have an effect on a person's trust in their law enforcement agency. in other words, we call but they don't come. so it's a moving -- it's fluid and like i said situational. we deal with it on a situational basis. mr. goodlatte: do your officers generally feel -- i don't know what the right word is.
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welcome, comfortable in these tougher communities to police? sheriff clarke: without a doubt. it's one of the hallmarks, i believe, of my administration to create a relationship. we talk about trust. i believe in the milwaukee area, anyway that's what i can speak to personally, there is a great relationship. we do not have, we meaning law enforcement officers, do not have a great relationship with the criminal element. there is no doubt about that. but i think sometimes this is -- i believe it exists, this lack of trust within segments of the community. but not as a whole within the minority community. i bristle at that perception. mr. goodlatte: glad to hear that. mr. hartley, you wrote in your testimony that only 5% of the nation's long-term agencies
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participate in accreditation. that surprised me. what's the biggest obstacle you face in terms of getting other agencies accredited? is it leadership? costs? or something else? mr. hartley: i will tell you i think it's a combination of all those things. i think it really starts with leadership prerogative about what those organizational leaders think is important to them and to the delivery of leadership across the organization itself. we do hear concerns that the cost of accreditation is too much. we also hear that the in kind cost associated with the involvement and process is difficult because our accreditation process requires them to do things that they otherwise may not do. i can tell you that the process is really structured around key and fundamental sound principles of police service delivery. so the process of accreditation doesn't increase accountability that's already there. it measures accountability and serves as a yardstick and framework to keep organizations focused on key and fundamental areas. but again it does relate to cost
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in some cases and in kind services and management. process, mr. chair. mr. goodlatte: miss ramirez, is there a problem with currently legal precedent as they relate to use of force? does it result in second-guessing of officers? miss ramirez: i'm -- ms. ramirez: i'm soarry. mr. goodlatte: is there a problem with current legal precedent as they relate to use of force? does it result in second-guessing of officers' decisions? ms. ramirez: i don't think this is pry plare a legal problem. -- primarily a legal problem. i think it's a problem with the community not fully understanding all of the pressures, procedures, protocols that the police are engaged in. and the police not discussing
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and educating the community about the things that the police have to take into account as they go through a stop and search process. but i don't believe this is a legal problem. i think it's a training problem. i think it's a problem that involves -- that would be solved with better community policing. mr. goodlatte: mr. barge, let you answer that same question, i also want to add, you mentioned in your testimony that after your organization was called into portland there was a sharp drop in officer involved shootings, use of force, and citizen complaints without any increase in officer injuries. what do you think most directly causes that? mr. barge: as the legal precedent question i think that as i said in my testimony, judges in courtrooms use a very different set of standards and rules to guide fair and
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efficient decisionmaking. officers on the street i think as all of us can attest to, you don't have the luxury of examining all of the facts as they turned out to be and have to make split second judgment calls. i think one thing that police agencies can do right now is to ask themselves how do i want our police officers to react in these emerging use of force situations, and craft in more specific clearer guidance where appropriate, and hold their officers rigorously accountable to those policies. the policies can do what the courts cannot as a condition of an officer being employed in that department. as to portland i think that what we did there was to institute a number of reforms that are very tested. they have been implemented in places where the d.o.j. has gone and the consent decree process. in portland we had an opportunity to implement those reforms in a voluntary sort of
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capacity. the city wanted us there anti-police department wanted us there. and it was about sort of instilling mechanisms whereby the police ask themselves difficult questions, asked what we could learn from incidents that went wrong and what we could do different in the future. i think that kind of culture just by the numbers that the city found there really changed the department for the better. mr. goodlatte: thank you very much. the gentleman from michigan, mr. conyers, is recognized for his questions. mr. conyers: thank you. i appreciate the different contributions from each of the five panelists. and i think we are off to a good discussion. i would like you to know that thanks to the chairman and the -- mr. scott and sensenbrenner, we have been having hearings on
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over criminalization that start the out for six months and chairman goodlatte added six more months to it it was so effective. .
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prosecutor's got to decide whether to prosecute one that he's been working with a long time. professor ramirez and any of the rest of you, please let's look at that for a moment. ms. ramirez: as a former federal prosecutor, i've worked with law enforcement and i know firsthand the difficult and dangerous work that they do but i also believe that when there
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has been a civilian who's been shot or police misconduct, it is very hard for a prosecutor who works day in and day out with these law enforcement officers and knows they worked with them in the past and the future to make an independent decision which is why i think we need a process, different from the process that we have now. so i talk about having an independent inspector general make the decision. mr. conyers:. ms. ramirez: but also we need more transparency in the decisionmaking process. so right now we have a secret grand jury process. maybe we need something more like an inquest process or some kind of new process in which in these instances we can -- we can develop a way to be more transparent about that pretrial investigation that takes place now by a prosecutor in the grand jury context. and i wanted to say one more thing about reducing use of
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force. the studies have shown that in departments where they've used cameras, body cameras and cameras in the car, that there has been a significant decrease in use of force. and it gives us the opportunity to learn from the recorded instances about best practices for deescalation so when we have cameras and there is an incident -- de-escalation so when we have cameras and there is an incident we can learn more about it. mr. conyers: what's been your experience sir, in terms of this problem of more or less where do we go from here? mr. hartley, what do you think?
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[inaudible] mr. conyers: we can go wider than that. mr. hartley: and i think that discussion in a little more broad sense, i think the most important thing for any organization to do is to prepare for that bad event. we know that regardless of the best planning, you're still going to have people that are engaged in fundamental decisions around the enforcement of law that have impacts on communities. but the reality of it is that if the preparation takes place in the proper way with the proper folks around the table it relieves those expectations of negativity, if you will and it promotes organizational confidence in how the process will be managed. i don't feel comfort saying that one size fits all for each agency because i think each jurisdiction brings on different attributes that has to be -- mr. conyers: of course. mr. hartley: but for the public's consideration and for the officers' consideration, confidence in the process is important and it has to do with planning for the event from start to finish and include community contacts, media engagement and other processors
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related to the legal system. mr. conyers: thank you very much. ms. rahr, just in closing do you see some hope in president obama's recent statements on the subject when he was in camden yesterday? ms. rahr: i do. i think that there are a number of recommendations that will be helpful to every police department in the nation for some departments, they will be able to follow many of those recommendations. i hope that as time goes on the distribution of federal funding and resources will take into account the cooperation of agencies that are doing their best to follow those recommendations. mr. conyers: thank you. mr. goodlatte: chair thanks the gentleman. the chair recognizes the gentleman from south carolina, mr. gowdy, for five minutes. mr. gowdy: thank you. professor ramirez, you mentioned a couple of cases in your opening statement and i
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know time is short when you only have five minutes and you were not able to address other cases. i wanted to ask you whether or not you were familiar with a few other cases. sandy rogers and scottie richardson from akin, south carolina, you familiar with that case? ms. ramirez: no, sir. mr. gowdy: how about roger day o' rice from ryan, south carolina, are you familiar with that case? ms. rahr: -- ms. ramirez: no, sir. mr. gowdy: russ sorrow from greenville, south carolina? ms. ramirez: no, sir. mr. gowdy: or kevin carper from spartanburg, south carolina? ms. ramirez: no, sir. mr. gowdy: professor those are just a handful of the more than 340 police officers who were killed in the line of duty in south carolina. and kevin carper's case is most instructive because his partner did c.p.r. on the suspect that killed kevin trying to save his
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life. let me ask you another way. are you familiar with the case of ricky samuel? ms. ramirez: no, sir. mr. gowdy: how about tamika, houston? ms. ramirez: no, sir. mr. gowdy: nell lindsey, santyageo rios? ms. ramirez: no, sir. mr. gowdy: those are all folks that were the victim of intraracial homicides in south carolina. and i hasten to add, they were not protest either with those police officer killings or any of the intraracial killings, and i suspect you agree with me, professor, that all lives matter whether you're killed by a police officer or your next door neighbor, you're every bit as dead, aren't you? ms. ramirez: yes sir. i actually as a former prosecutor and someone who's worked with police officers have the deepest respect for them. mr. gowdy: so do i. and despite that deep respect, professor, i still maintain the
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on jecktift of prosecuting -- object tift of prosecuting police officers if there is misconduct. recusal which is what some of us did in every single one of our officer-involved shootings, we recused it to another prosecutor so he or she could make that decision so there is a process in place. you called for a process, there is one. it's called recusal. do you know as a former prosecutor or can you dane what may have been the biggest impediment to our being able to successfully prosecute homicide cases, particularly homicide cases involving victims of color? in my criminal justice jurisdiction, do you know what the biggest impediment was? ms. ramirez: in massachusetts one of the biggest impediments is trying to get witnesses to come forward. mr. gowdy: you're exactly right. you're exactly right. you have a victim of color and
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we had trouble getting witnesses to cooperate with law enforcement and prosecutors which then, as you know, diminishes the quality of that case and your ability to prosecute it which may result in a lesser plea bargain because you don't have the facts which may then result in what you said in your opening statement which is people have a tendency to treat black lives differently than white when the reality is the case wasn't quite as good. isn't that a possibility too? ms. ramirez: for every prosecutor who's out there, this is a serious problem and you are correct in pointing that out sir. mr. gowdy: right. and it wasn't just me pointing it out professor. i happen to have a fantastic chief of police when i was the d.a. fantastic man by the name of tony fisher who happened to be an african-american chief of police, and he lamented the exact same thing you and i are talking about is the loss of life in his community and the refusal of people to cooperate,
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even in a drive-by shooting of an 8-year-old at a birthday party, a drive-by shooting outdoors where the whole world saw the car drive by and nobody would cooperate with the prosecution in the murder of an 8-year-old. so i hope that part of this 21st century police strategy conversation that we're having includes getting people to cooperate with law enforcement so you can hold people to the exact same standard regardless of the race of the victim. and i want to say this, too. i want to thank my friend, sed richmond and hakeem jefferies and others who are working on this issue because they want a justice system that is colorblind. after all, it's respected by a woman wearing a blindfold so let's go ahead and make it colorblind and both of those guys have worked really, really hard and will continue to do so because let me tell what you my goal is my goal is for
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witnesses to feel comfortable cooperating, but here's my other goal, and i'm out of time but i'm going to share it with you. i want to get to the point where we lament the death, the murder of a black female like nell lindsey just as much if it's at the hand of an abusive husband, which it was, as we would if it would have been if it was at the hand of a white cop. i want to get to the point where we're equally outraged at the loss of life and i hope we can get there. with that i would yield back. mr. goodlatte: the chair thanks the gentleman. recognize the gentlewoman from texas, ms. jackson lee, for five minutes. ms. jackson lee: mr. chairman, thank you so very much and let me thank both you and the ranking member, my ranking member for listening and engaging and leading and i was delighted to participate in the process and i'd like to say to my colleagues that this effort
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of criminal justice reform is going to be a committee effort. every member's input and assessment and analysis and legislative initiatives will stand equal, i believe, in the eyes of the ranking member and the chairman and certainly those of us who serve as the chairperson and ranking member of the crime subcommittee, as i do. america will not be responded to unless this committee works together and that our efforts are in unison and collective responding, of course, to the many witnesses that will come before us. so this is the first year, and i think america should recognize the very large step that we are making. sheriff clarke, let me thank you for your service. we may agree to disagree but there is no disagreement with your service and the sacrifice that you represent.
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as you indicated, we met a couple of weeks ago. just may 15, i was on the west side of the campus of this great congress dealing with the many families who had lost loved ones in law enforcement. so my tone today will be that we do ill when we take each other's pain lightly, the pain of black lives matter, the pain of hands up, don't shoot, i can't breathe, that is pain. and it is equally the pain of mr. greer who was on the steps of his house august, 2013, and was shot in virginia. he happened to be an angelo or caucasian male. what we have to do to make a legislative step of monumental change that gives our officers
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the confidence of their work, further enhance their training is to be able to work together. my line of questioning will be how do we fix these problems and how do we get the 5% number, that is a lot of officers, to be 25%, 50% accreditation, that's what the american people, i think, are looking at. i don't want anyone's pain to be diminished and i sit here today recognizing that pain. sloat me just quickly say this regarding statistics. james coney, the director of f.b.i., said the following about the uniform crime report. the now three-year-old source that was cited in the sheriff's testimony said the following, demographic data regarding officer involved shootings is not consistently reported to us through our uniform crime reporting program. because reporting is volume run tear, our data is incomplete and therefore unreliable. mr. hartley, i have thought that data is important. introduced a bill called the
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cadet bill to gather statistics of shootings by police and by individuals against police, because i believe in fairness. and so if this was required would that be an asset to -- as you do your scientific work of providing insight for training? mr. hartley: ms. jackson lee -- -- ms. jackson lee, let me first start by saying that i think data helps drive decisionmaking and it helped drive it in an important way because you don't know what you don't know sometimes and what we find is organizations that engang gauge with calea discovered data in the process that really helps them make fundamental decisions that drive the organization in a responsible way towards community service. ms. jackson lee: do you have enough money to credit all of the police departments across america? withdrew need some incentivizing, some funding to help you do that? mr. hartley: well, we don't need the incentivizing or funding to help that occur but those organizations sometimes do.
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organizations that participate with us range in size from 10,000 to 10. ms. jackson lee: so funding to them would be a helpful component of police -- of accountability? mr. hartley: i think that would support agencies in this mission. ms. jackson lee: on the cale ambingsaverbings standards of body cameras, transport, an independent review of lethal force by law enforcement are there standards? that's the question. on body cameras, police arrest and transport? one of the issues i'm concerned about because when the issue came out in baltimore, it wasn't sort of put aside, police departments were saying all over, you know what, some of the things we do. but do you have standards on that in use of lethal force? mr. hartley: we have standards on all of those subjects. the one related to transport didn't face the issue faced in baltimore. however there is a standard that encourages the safe transport of individuals, regardless the type -- ms. jackson lee: we need to help enhance that and make that a noticeable part of policing across america. mr. hartley: well, i think that standards themselves are a dynamic living tool. i think as we encounter new issues -- and we certainly
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will, we have to be prepared to make adjustments in those standards. ms. jackson lee: ms. rahr, you talked about training programs, particularly opposition of those against the status quo. can you add to your conversation. i don't want any police officer to not go home to their family. that's a mantra that we all stand by and i, you know, everyone says, we have great relationships -- i'm a big believer in community oriented policing. the father of community oriented policing lives in houston, lee brown. can you talk about de-escalation in training and how that impacts on police interaction? mr. goodlatte: the time of the gentlewoman has expired but the witness may answer the question. ms. jackson lee: it's a very exciting hearing. it generates a lot of questions. thank you. ms. rahr: thank you, sir. i have described the philosophical shift that i have been promoting for a couple of years. as moving our culture closetory a guardian mentality rather than a warrior mentality.
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i believe the warrior mentality was a result of a political movement that started in the 1960's when we declared war on crime, war on drugs, war on all sorts of things. the police agencies across this nation responded as they do to their political leadership in their communities. what i'm trying to do is help our new police officers find the right balance because officers absolutely must have keen warrior skills and they must be able to use them without hesitation or policy. but i want them to consider their role within our democracy and that role needs to be the role of a protector with the goal of protecting people rather than conkerg them. when you try to -- conquering them. when you try to initiate this type of a mind set shift there's naturally going to be resistance. the greatest resistance i've encountered is just the misunderstanding of what i'm talking about. when i have the opportunity to explain it in more depth, most officers will say to me, that's
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how good cops have always done it. i want our recruits on their first day on the street to have the wisdom of a good cop with 20 years experience. mr. goodlatte: the time of the gentlewoman has expired. ms. jackson lee: i yield back. mr. goodlatte: the chair recognizes the gentleman from michigan, mr. bishop, for five minutes. mr. bishop: thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to thank the panel for your testimony today. grateful for the time you've taken to be with us today. sheriff, i had an opportunity to speak with the law enforcement community in my community, and i did a roundtable discussion. i had an open dialogue about the events of the day and some of the concerns that have been raised in this very discussion. they were concerned, as well about some of the bad actors in their own rank and file that we've been seeing around this country and very concerned about it but also we're -- were addment about the fact that the
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hort majority of the officers they work with, the emergency response personnel are hardworking, good professional people who are there for a common purpose and that is to serve the public. and they're concerned that that doesn't resonate that we see more now of the bad acting than some of the negative that's gone on out there and it's important we identify and we deal with that and we not tolerate it in any way shape or form. but it's also important that we do whatever we can to really rally behind those who have given so much in the law enforcement community. i think -- i'd really like to know from you, what's going on with the morale of the law enforcement community? are you having problems with recruitment and retention of officers as a result of all that's gone on around the country? shoip mr. chair congressman --
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sheriff clarke: mr. chair, congressman, we're at a tipping point that i expressed not too long what happened in ferguson, missouri, about the psyche of the police officer who watches these things go on, just like anybody else does, and the constant bashing and maligning of the profession is starting to take its toll. i just spent this week in the d.c. area for the national law enforcement officers memorial, police week, if you will, and i talked to law enforcement officers across this country and the one common theme i heard from them, first of all, their mind set is they're beleaguered right now. but the common theme that i heard is you know, sheriff, i don't know if i want to continue to take that extra step any more because i don't want to be the next darren wilson. i don't want to be the next, you know, the officers in baltimore or new york or anywhere because they in a good
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faith effort -- we're talking about the goode faith action of law enforcement officers, we operate in an environment of chaos and uncertainty when we get sent to these calls. sometimes in this imperfect world things can go horribly wrong, which they did in ferguson, missouri. i'm not going to get into whose fault it was but something went horribly wrong. but some of the best law enforcement work that goes on all across the country is called self-initiated. it's not the call for service. when an officer gets sent to a call for service something already happened. it's reactive. the crime already occurred. but the self-initiated policing is when that officer, that man or woman uses their experience, their sixth sense, if you will, their street sense that criminal activity may be afoot and they establish the reasonable suspicion so they can make that stop consistent with our constitution, they go and investigate. they pull that car over or they go and what we call, you know,
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stick up a group of individuals hanging on a corner or casing an area, so to speak and we start to investigate. in self-initiated policing you're going to find the guns that are being used to transport to and from drive-by shootings, you're going to find prohibited persons with firearms, you're going to find drugs, you're going to find people wanted on serious felony warrants through self-initiated policing. when that starts to fall off -- there will be a lag time. this won't happen overnight. the cops in this country aren't going to quit. but over time when they start to worry they look and they see that suspicious vehicle or they see that suspicious individual and say, maybe not today i don't want this thing to go hay wire on me and next thing i know i'm one of those officers that -- who becomes a household name in america. that is going to a lag time, ok. i don't like to create hysteria but over time i think it will have an affect on crime rates
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in those communities that need assertive policing the most and that's our north communities. mr. bishop: thank you, sheriff. i guess my time is up, mr. chairman. so i would yield back the balance. mr. goodlatte: the chair thanks the gentleman and recognize the gentleman from new york, mr. nadler, for five minutes. mr. nadler: thank you. before i ask the question, let me just make an observation. sheriff clarke talked about the sixth sense, about taking that extra step. sometimes taking that extra step is very necessary but sometimes we maybe want the officer not to take the extra step. maybe that's sometimes the problem and that leads into the question of changing police culture which ms. rahr talked about. ms. rahr, what is the greatest challenge in changing police culture? ms. rahr: i think the greatest challenge is recognizing that we have a real variety of cultures already existing across the country. when officers come to begin
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their career of service, most of them come to the table with the goal of doing something good, doing something to benefit the community and then they're confronted with the realities of trying to do those good things. as a result, sometimes they take on a tougher persona and they may lose sight of their original reasons for coming in the door. i think we need to work harder within -- within the agencies, the leadership within the agencies to support our police officers, make sure that they are healthy both mentally and physically and they feel supported by the agency. if an officer doesn't feel support inside their agency, they're not going to be willing to take a risk and try something different. they're not going to be willing to take as much of a risk to go out on a limb to protect someone. i think the internal culture of policing is absolutely critical. and when that is strong and healthy and confident officers will be willing to try
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something different. mr. nadler: and what, if anything, can we in congress do to help this change? ms. rahr: i'd a lot of to see congress provide funding for improved training. i'll just cut right to the chase. there are a number of excellent programs already in existence that could be -- that could literally transform the profession of policing in this country. i've been involved for the last couple of years with the program called blue courage and that program seeks to support police officers build their pride, build their sense of high morale and especially assist them in seeing their appropriate role within -- as the guardian in democracy. that program cost money and agencies that want to acquire that training have to pay for an officer on overtime to fill the districts. mr. nadlir: appropriating money for training. anything else? ms. rahr: besides training? mr. nadler: besides money? ms. rahr: oh, besides money i'm sorry. i just think the recognition
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that individual police agencies need to be supported. there is not going to be a one-size-fits-all federal solution to this. mr. nadler: thank you very much. professor ramirez, we've had a number -- all over the country we've had a number of problems, obviously, with violence against citizens who turned out not to have weapons or be guilty of anything. sometimes the police officer gets prosecuted. sometimes people don't. sometimes people are happy with it. sometimes they're not. we've seen these controversies, and, of course, it's been suggested that the d.a.'s are too close, they have to work day-to-day with the police -- police officers. they're too close to make that decision without being thought partisan, whether they are or not. should we consider a special -- should we have a law or regulation that mandates a special prosecutor or special
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master for investigations of police officers on the grounds that the d.a.'s are in fact too close to do this fairly? would that be a good idea? ms. ramirez: i think it would be a good idea. mr. nadler: would that enhance community confidence and impartiality and what are the negatives on it? ms. ramirez: yes. while we do have a recusal system that recusal system is now in the hands of the district attorney, so the district attorney in ferguson did not recuse himself. and i think having laws and a process would create more legitimacy and more transparency to the public. mr. nadler: thank you. what is the -- also, professor, what is the greatest impediment to prosecuting police officers who violate constitutional rights of individuals in their official capacity? obviously we don't do -- what is it 18 -- deprivation of civil rights by color by the federal government. what is the greatest impediment to prosecuting police officers who ought to be prosecuted, and
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there are some, obviously? ms. ramirez: i am one that did prosecute police officers. the first impediment in a prosecutorial office when you work with police when you work with law enforcement it is very hard to decide to prosecute -- mr. nadler: what we talked about in our previous question? ms. ramirez: right. mr. nadler: because my time is running out, obviously there have been a lot of controversial encounters and some of which police officers prosecuted and others which they weren't, sometimes the d.a. recollection coriated for prosecuting, sometimes for not prosecuting. would it be better for the sense of justice on the part of relatives of victims or would it be better for the police officers who could be exonerated by this if police officers used body cameras all the time whenever they have such an encounter? ms. ramirez: i think cameras are critical of this -- at this juncture and we know four
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things happen when you put cameras in place because we did research both in grain and this country when cameras -- great britain and this country when cameras were used. police officers know they're being recorded during an incident. second complaints against police officers diminished significantly which reduces the cost and process of adjudicating these incidents after the fact in trying to find facts. surprisingly, the third thing is that there's been an increase in successful prosecution of domestic violence. because the police can record on the scene at the time what happened. the fourth thing that would be very helpful in moving the police culture from a warrior culture to a guardianship culture is that you could begin to have guardianship metrics. the current metrics are warrior metrics. how many people did you arrest, search seize, how many guns did you seize, how many drugs did you seize? if you had cameras you could
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begin to do two things. you could begin to evaluate officers on guardianship values. you could look at every 100th tape and see was this police officer courteous, did they follow procedures, did they try to de-escalate? second, it serves as an early warning system to the police because if if you're watching on a regular basis randomly some of these cameras, you will discern who are the bad apples who have anger management issues and other issues. mr. nadler: thank you. i yield back. mr. goodlatte: the chair recognizes the gentleman from arizona, mr. franks, for five minutes. mr. franks: well, thank you, mr. chairman. you know, mr. chairman, to paraphrase the poet, we sleep safe in our beds at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would do us harm. and certainly i believe that that in the people that wear the uniform, the many women that wear the uniform fit in that paradigm very well because
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unless there are those that are willing to stand between the innocent and the ma left nent then the -- malevolen then the malevolen will prevail. i think they are the most noble figures in our society. and sheriff mack -- sorry -- sheriff clarke, i heard you on one of the television interviews and was so struck by your clarity and your eagle-eyed approach and i thought this gentleman personifies that nobility that we talk about and i really think that my children and the children of this country have a safer, more hopeful future because of people like you. so i would suggest to you that others have come to the same conclusion, that might be why you're here in this hearing this morning. my question is first for you have the recent events and the press response to those events had any kind of impact on your officers or made them more
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likely to employ strategies and tactics that might actually compromise their safety or the safety of the community? sheriff clarke: mr. chair, congressman, without a doubt it's part of the tipping point that i talked about. you know, we need balance obviously and obviously when we find balance maintaining is going to be more difficult. an officer delaying that thing that's telling him or her to do a certain thing that doesn't happen and may cost them their lives but let me say this about the use of body cameras. i am for this, the use of this technology. i think it's a force multiplier. it can only help. but what i've been advising, i think we're rushing into this because we will end up with a law of unintended consequences. there are privacy issues involved. it potentially could lead to fewer people wanting to come forward and cooperate with the police especially in our north communities where cooperating
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with police can lead you to a very bad conclusion. you don't want to be seen doing that. you don't want to be videotaped cooperating with the police. so we have to think what impact it will have on witnesses wanting to come forward or even calling to report crime. i just want to close by saying that, you know, the use of body cameras and the early evidence that it's leading to fewer complaints and fewer instances of force is not -- there's evidence to suggest this, not to show it, that it isn't just the result of the officer knowing that someone's watching. it's also letting the person who the officer's dealing with know if i make a false complaint against this officer it's going to be on video and that could lead to a decrease in complaints as well. so i don't want to you know, everybody to presume that it's because the officers are being watched, that they're changing their behavior and the same with suspects.
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they know they're being videotaped. maybe they're less likely to fight the police and engage in some of that behavior. so that's why i say i support that, the use of those body cameras. but there's some things associated with it that have not been flushed out yet. i just say, let's not rush into this because it's not a panacea. thank you. mr. franks: thank you sir. ms. rahr, in your testimony you discuss the absence of a national coherence in policing. i wonder how you would you have proposed to implement national policing standards while still ensuring that local police departments may maintain the autonomy necessary to remain effective in their own jurisdictions? ms. rahr: i haven't suggested national standards. what the task force worked on is recommendation to provide guidance and to provide more support for police departments. i don't think we'll ever come to a place where we have national standards for police policies and procedures. there's just too many different variables in each community.
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mr. franks: well, mr. chairman i would just suggest, sir, while i think everyone sees our police force in general as guardians, i'm thankful that there are there are enough warrior mentality among them. i yield back. mr. goodlatte: the chair recognizes the gentleman from tennessee, mr. cohen, for five minutes. mr. cohen: i want to thank you for holding this hearing, most important. and i want to stay on the front end. i started my legal career -- i was a lawyer as the attorney for the memphis police. spent 3 1/2 years working with the police and i understand policing and appreciate policing and know it's essential for ordered liberty and a society that has on the front lines men and women willing to risk their lives. on the other hand -- and i have great respect for mr. comboudy and happy he's back here. he mentioned he looks for the day that we rule the death of the lady. i forget the name. the woman who was killed in a
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domestic -- the same as we raoux the problems when a white policeman kills a black citizen. and i would have to say with great respect for mr. gowdy there's a big difference. one is a private tragedy, the other is a public tragedy because it's under color of law. and while we'd like to see no crime whatsoever -- and that would be wonderful -- we can only mostly be concerned about color of law killings. and that's something we should be concerned about. it's a big difference. i would like to mention -- question for professor ramirez. you mentioned an investigation, prosecutorial decisions rest in the hands of d.a.'s and mr. gowdy mentioned recusal. recusal is up to the d.a. and in the recommendations of the president's task force there were recommendations that we have an independent prosecutor. congressman clay and i have introduced a bill that requires states to adopt independent
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prosecutor laws or face a cut in burn jag funding. this would present a solution. is part of the reason that the problem exists is that perception, is that part of the reason why you think it's important to have an independent prosecutor? because the perception the public has there's not independent analysis of the cases and independent determination of who should be prosecuted? ms. ramirez: yes, sir, it's primarily a matter of perception because i believe that prosecutors across the country try to do the best that they can and exercise a the best judgment. but there -- because of this inherent conflict there may be the perception in the eye of the public that this was not a fair and full hearing. mr. cohen: the d.a.'s main witnesses are always police. ms. ramirez: correct. mr. cohen: in my community, the d.a. hires, which makes sense, former sheriff's people or police people to be their investigators.
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ms. ramirez: yes, sir. mr. cohen: there's an inherent conflict. that's why we have our bill, lacy clay, and i because we think not only would it eliminate the perception but there's certain cases where there's politics involved. a base for the d.a., who is elected, is law enforcement and that's a political problem. that's number one. ms. roar rar you were a member of the president's task force and thank you for your work and your colleagues' force. the task force recommended the use of independent prosecutors as well where police uses force and it results in death or injury was that recommendations where d.a.'s did not -- if the recommendation was based on instances where d.a.'s did not pursue cases against police as aggressively or was it a mere perception of the conflict of interest and the -- ms. rahr: in our debates and conversation the primary focus was on the perception. it's in recognition we have to maintain public trust.
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there are many prosecutors across this nation that are perfectly capable i i believe doing a prosecution of police shootings. unfortunately we have to maintain public trust and when you try to balance those two issues it was -- it was the consensus of the task force that public trust had to have more weight than just the pragmatism of having that particular prosecutor. mr. cohen: i'm down to my last minute. part of the bill with representative clay had some sensitivity training to recognize gender differences and maybe sexual orientation differences. do you think it would be helpful to have police training in the diverse societies we have today? ms. rahr: i wouldn't title it sensitivity training because the police would shut it down immediately. mr. cohen: my last minute. sheriff clarke, let me ask you this. you mentioned in your testimony that much of the population and
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-- in state and federal prisons was for violent crime. probably that's true. for federal system it's mostly drug crime. there's not so much violent crime there. that's where the drug situation really fills up the federal prisons. you mentioned -- you said illegal drug use is the scourge of the black community and it is a problem and leads to a great deal of violent crime. would you agree that marijuana possession is not the scourge of the black community and does not lead to violent crime the same way that meth, crack and crearn do? sheriff clarke: i wouldn't agree with that at all. mr. cohen: i wish i had more time to talk with you. thank you for allowing me this opportunity. the defense attorney is not supposed to ask the question but it was such an obvious answer i never thought i'd get that answer. mr. goodlatte: the time of the gentleman has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from iowa, mr. king, for five minutes. senator king: resisting the similar -- mr. king: resisting the
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temptation to yield the balance of my time to mr. cohen. mr. cohen: thank you. mr. king: i have an article and dated by the way, the 6th of may, but tiled "obama praised baltimore police he's now investigating." it points out the study that the gentleman from tennessee referenced, the president task force or 21st century policing, which i have in my hand, and it also quotes from the police chief of baltimore who said he changed outdated procedures that put officers at odds with the community. this goes back to march of 2015, was dated the report -- dated this article is the first week or so in may. it's interesting to me, as listen to the testimony of ms. rahr, and i give you credit for contributing to that report as well you'd like to see a shift from the warrior mentality to that of a guardian. and i think of the night i came here and i watched live on television the encounters with
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baltimore police and rock throwing mobs and i saw the baltimore police retreat from rock-throwing mobs. so i'd ask you is there a time they need to convert back to the warrior mentality and was that the time? ms. rahr: i want to clarify when i talk about a guardian mentality, that absolutely does not imply retreat. it does not imply weakness. it implies being able to do two things at once. mr. king: you can do that by just answering my question also. ms. rahr: sorry. mr. king: was baltimore a time there should have been more of a warrior mentality when they were facing rock-throwing mobs and retreating in the face of rock-throwing mobs? was that a time when there needed to be an engagement of the police? ms. rahr: they needed to have warrior tactics while having the mind set of a guardian. mr. king: i'd turn to mr. ramirez and your testimony was very interesting to me. and i began thinking about our
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constitution and where it says in the first amendment, i'll paraphrase but also accurately. congress shall make no law respecting the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for redresses of grievances. do you agree with that statement? ms. ramirez: yes sir. mr. king: and there's no prohibition in that statement that i read and that prohibits congress from making a law or enforcing a law that would prohibit the people from violently assembling to petition the government for redress of grievances? ms. ramirez: congress does have the right to restrain violence in any form. mr. king: and so we agree that freedom of speech isn't the right to yell fire in a crowded theater? ms. ramirez: correct. mr. king: then we could also agree -- i'll ask you. is it then -- is it lawful or unlawful for one to pay protesters and encourage them to become violent? ms. ramirez: i think that's a crime. mr. king: yes.
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i'd agree with that also. i'd point out that my -- and encourage violence, i want to pull that part out as a separate clause in my statement here for this purpose here. i have in my hand a stack of tweets and stories and messages about protesters in ferguson, missouri who now are protesting that they didn't get paid for the work that they did. and i put that word work if quotes. have you reviewed any of that? are you knowledgeable about any of that information, ms. ramirez? ms. ramirez: no, but i would say this. at this juncture, the most helpful thing that we could do is to try to bring the community and the police together in dialogues at the local level. mr. king: i do understand that. that was in your testimony and i think the panel understands it. if you were -- if you were presented with information that showed that indicated that there were -- there was a funder or funders who had hired
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protesters that may well have been to bust into places like ferguson, missouri, or sent to places like baltimore and we ended up watching buildings and businesses be burned and property damage being created and some cases assault, would that be worthy of an investigation, would you think, by the local police force? ms. ramirez: yes. mr. king: and what about the u.s. attorney general? ms. ramirez: i think that they should -- if there is evidence that someone were being paid to engage in violent protests and engage in violence, then that's a serious problem. mr. king: but you wouldn't think that if they didn't say violence, if they said protest and it turned into violence, that wouldn't be a crime? ms. ramirez: that's a different situation. mr. king: i'd like to turn that and ask sheriff clarke if he could respond with the reflections upon the exchange you heard? sheriff clarke: sir i was a little disappointed there weren't more aggressive
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prosecutions to -- some of the rioters on videotape. one that stands out to me is a group of young individuals standing and dancing on top of a police cruiser that had been destroyed, so to speak, as if they had captured some sort of ground. it's government property. in wisconsin we have a statute of inciting a riot. i think it should be used on both sides. there's too much focus on what the police may have done, you know prior to the riots breaking out. as you indicated, there's a more socially acceptable way under our first amendment to display your frustrations, your anger and it's not rioting. it's not destroying property of other people. they abandoned -- we saw that night what baltimore would look like without the police, with police stepping back as they did. some say retreating.
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it was an ugly situation for a great american city. mr. king: thank you, sheriff. i thank the chairman and the witnesses and yield back the balance of my time. mr. goodlatte: the chair thanks the gentleman and recognizes the gentleman from georgia, mr. johnson, for five minutes. mr. johnson: thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you and the ranking member for agreeing to hold this hearing. and i -- sheriff clarke, i heard about, read about your testimony -- astigmatic testimony, that's the word i'm trying to use. please note my strong respect and support for police and law enforcement and also note my strong insistence that rule of law apply to all regardless of whether a person is a civilian or law enforcement. the failure to prosecute police officers, militarize police
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responses to peaceful protests and video footage of people dying by the hands of law enforcement have led us to where we are today. while discussing police accountability is an essential way to improve the relationship between the community and law enforcement, i hope that this committee will hold additional hearings that will allow us to specifically focus upon grand jury reform, use of body cameras and the d.o.j.'s data collection and transparency practices. before we witnessed the mill tarization of police -- mill tarization of police in missouri, i had worked on the stop militarization law enforcement act which prevents local police forces from receiving mraps tanks, other weapons left over from the war and i'm very grateful and humbled that president obama yesterday issued an executive order that virtually ends the 1033 program.
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i've also introduced the grand jury reform act which calls for the use of special prosecutors and independent law enforcement agencies when there has been a police killing. and also have introduced the police accountability act which would expand the d.o.j.'s authority to bring charges against law enforcement officers. sir, do you -- have you ever heard the name arriston waiters before? i'm sure that you haven't. he was just a 19-year-old unarmed black male just a typical unarmed black male down in union city, georgia who was shot while laying on his stomach, shot twice in the back by a law enforcement officer, police officer from union city. shot twice in the back at close range. the officer who killed mr.
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waiters allegedly exhibited signs of posttraumatic stress disorder. he was an afghanistan war veteran. according to the anxiety disorders association of america, there are 40 million adults in the united states over the age of 18 who suffer from anxiety disorders. 7.7 million of those americans suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder. i'm concerned about the role mental health issues play in officers using excessive force against civilians. we've talked about police officers receiving training on how to apprehend people suffering from mental illnesses, but what is your department doing to make sure that officers themselves aren't suffering from mental illnesses? sheriff clarke: mr. chair congressman, that is one of the
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most difficult situations that law enforcement officers today are dealing with. the mentally ill. mr. johnson: i'm saying in terms of -- would you agree that there must be some out there among the 7.7 million americans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder who are law enforcement officers. you would not deny that would you? sheriff clarke: i don't have any data to refute it. mr. johnson: well -- but would you think that there may be some cases where there are officers who are suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder and who are serving currently in law enforcement? sheriff clarke: if i had to guess, yes. i had such a situation with one of my patrol sergeants who served in the first gulf war, i believe. and he slapped around a handcuffed prisoner.
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i not only had him charged with a felony, he went to prison for 18 months. mr. johnson: you're to be commended for that. sheriff clarke: it was a hard thing to do. mr. johnson: does your department have a system of monitoring police officers or your police officers periodically just to determine whether or not they have any mental health issues that could impede their ability to protect and serve the people? sheriff clarke: no not a systemic one. we have our standard early warning system. mr. johnson: do you think it would be wise for the federal government -- i noticed that in your statement you say that police use of force -- i'm quoting you -- police use of force should be scrutinized dash locally that is. does that mean you don't think the federal government should concern itself with these issues at all?
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sheriff clarke: it's not that i don't think the federal government should concern itself. i think the federal government should observe what's going on across the nation with all these issues but to -- mr. johnson: you say it should be scrutinized locally, though. does that mean to the exclusion of the federal government? sheriff clarke: really, if i could finish a sentence -- mr. goodlatte: the time of the gentleman has expired but the witness is allowed to answer the question. mr. johnson: thank you. sheriff clarke: sure, it should be scrutinized, without a doubt. mr. johnson: thank you. mr. goodlatte: the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. marino, for five minutes. mr. marino: thank you, mr. chairman. it's a pleasure to have you here today. sheriff, if you could zero in on an issue for me concerning resources. if you had the money would you hire more sheriffs, deputy sheriffs and where would you put them, what would you do with them? sheriff clarke: yes, i would hire them. i'm in a court battle now with the county. i've had to sue the county to
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be able to hire more law enforcement officers. i'd put them in the field based on what the data's showing where the crimes' occurring and not just the crime but to provide a consistent visible presence to deter the crime, not just making assists and citing citations. mr. marino: if you need help with your superiors to fund your department, i'll be glad to join and help. ms. ramirez, i come from a long line of law enforcement officials. i was a assistant district tornado, district attorney, my colleague was one of the best assistant district attorneys in the country and i prosecuted cases myself and i did not base my decision to prosecute cases involving african-americans or police on color or on the
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police. i based it on the rule of law. it had nothing to about with who commithed the crime and who didn't and what police were involved. and you stated that you had a difficult time choosing over law enforcement and police. i never did. if you have a difficult time like that you shouldn't be a prosecutor. why would you prosecutor if you made that statement that i have a difficult time prosecuting police if they broke the law? ms. ramirez: in my particular situation, as an assistant u.s. attorney, we had not prosecuted police officers in the past. and the u.s. attorney at the time said to me do you plan to practice law as a defense attorney here in boston afterwards? mr. marino: ok. you'll get into the u.s. attorney or that individual. you know you have a step to go to if you have a complaint about prosecuting the case in
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the u.s. attorney's office. you can go from one person to another and you can actually go to the justice department. now, you also raised the issue -- ms. ramirez: which we did, sir. mr. marino: i'm asking the questions here. ms. ramirez: ok. mr. marino: you raised the issue of recusal, that it's up to the district attorney. it's up to the u.s. attorney. in my -- in the state courts or federal courts, if there was a recusal, we looked at it very seriously. i recused myself from cases and my staff. you know, it's not totally up to you. you can take that step to the judge. you can petition the court for recusal and petition as to why. you didn't mention that. and here's another thing i ran into as a prosecutor, as my colleagues said. it was very difficult to get young african-american males to testify against others, particularly -- even in cases where a family member was killed. can you address that for a
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little bit please? ms. ramirez: that is -- that is one of the most important problems that needs to be addressed, and i want to talk about how we addressed it in boston. mr. marino: would you please quickly. i only have a minute and a half. ms. ramirez: we went to the community organizations. we went to the faith-based community and we talked to the community and asked them why people were unwilling to come forward as witnesses. there were a myriad of causes. we set up a process and hearings. as a result, we had i don't know how many cold cases that were solved through a process in which the faith-based community went out, did outreach to the community, the community organization sds that and we have improved. mr. marino: i agree with you, that's a good way to handle it. you agree it's a problem. ms. ramirez: it's definitely a problem, sir. mr. marino: you had an extensive exemplary career but if you ever ridden in a car with a police officer? i know you couldn't do it as an
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assistant district attorney. as a d.a., have you been on the street when a police officer had to make a split-second decision that's taken to the united states supreme court -- that's taken the united states supreme court two years? ms. ramirez: yes. i've been in cars where -- >> see the rest of this hearing online at we are going to leave it here as the u.s. house is about to gavel in for legislative business today. before we join the house, one of the topics of the hearing we just showed you was the use of body cams by police. we're offering a chance for you to weigh on that question -- should police be required to wear body cameras? go our facebook page to vote on the poll. the house is back in a moment. members will be in shortly for debate on several bills, including highway and transportation funds and money for the legislative branch. votes are expected throughout the afternoon. and now to live coverage of the u.s. house here on c-span.
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] the spker: the housel be order. r will be offered da our guest


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