Last week, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) introduced the Protect our Protesters Act to criminalize police violence against demonstrators exercising their constitutional rights. After the unjust murder of George Floyd, people across the country protested their opposition to police brutality and were met with force. This legislation ensures police are held accountable and charged with a federal crime for killing or causing bodily harm to civilians exercising their constitutional right to free speech. The bill is part of a legislative package Omar is leading in the wake of Floyd’s murder in her district.
“It is absurd protesters are being met with the same force and brutality that they are marching to abolish,” said Omar. “For far too long, police have used force on peaceful protesters with no accountability. This legislation protects non-violent protesters by ensuring law enforcement officers are charged with a federal crime if they harm civilians exercising their constitutional right to free speech. Congress condemns these acts of aggression in foreign lands and we must do the same on our own soil.”
The bill is cosponsored by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), and Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY).
The bill has been endorsed by Our Revolution, Young Invincibles, NAACP, Sunrise Movement, 350.org, Lawyers for Civil Rights, Progressive Democrats of America, Center for Biological Diversity, Anti-Defamation League, Common Cause, Muslim Public Affairs Council, Data for Progress, Make It Work Nevada, Haitian Bridge Alliance, International Marine Mammal Project of Earth Island Institute, Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment, Earth Action, Inc., Social Security Works, Pillsbury United Communities, Climate Hawks Vote, Alaska's Big Village Network, Siegel, Yee, Brunner & Mehta, Poligon Education Fund, Defending Rights & Dissent, Campaign Nonviolence East Bay, Appetite For Change, Inc., Turtle Island Restoration Network, Earthworks, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC), and SustainUS.