NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin recently led a group of fellow players to Capitol Hill to discuss the police brutality and black oppression in America. Joined by Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, Detroit Lions defensive back Johnson Bademosi, and former NFL wide receiver Donte Stallworth, Boldin said the following during the forum on Thursday:
“The community I come from wants and needs to know that they are being heard. We want to make sure that you, that those in position to bring positive change, understand the things that we as an African-American community are going through. We certainly do not feel that we’re being heard right now right now, especially when it comes to law enforcement and the way we are being policed. Our neighborhoods are feeling hurt, and they want to see change.”
This is the second trip that Boldin has taken to Capitol Hill to discuss police brutality.
Though the issue has been magnified ten-fold during contemporary times following highly publicized incidents like the murder of Trayvon Martin, police brutality has been the bane of black existence since the very formation of organized law enforcement in America. However, Boldin's overture is even more personal than most.
On October 15, 2015, Corey Jones, Boldin's cousin, was shot and killed by a Florida police officer after his car broke down while en route home from a performance with his church band. The officer, who fired six shots, killing Jones almost instantly, is being charged with one count of manslaughter by culpable negligence and one count of attempted first-degree murder with a firearm. He is scheduled to on on trial this fall.
The NFL players met with dozen of members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to discuss ways to improve relations between black communities and the officers that patrol them, along with potential legislative reforms to help reduce the number of Black people killed by the police. According to the Washington Post, there have been 257 killed in interactions with police officers since the start of 2017. 24 percent of them were Black.
As has been reported by The Shadow League, Americans of African descent are 2.5 times as likely as whites to be shot and killed by the police.
Here are the proposals the players feel will get some positive movement:
The Fair Chance Act, also known as the “Ban The Box” bill, would ban the federal government from requesting the criminal history of job applicants. The bill has bipartisan support ― along with Cummings, Sen. Corey Booker (D-N.J.), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) also sponsored it.
Cummings is planning to re-introduce the legislation as soon as next week.
The second, the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act, was introduced last year by Conyers and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.). That bill would encourage local law enforcement agencies to adopt performance-based standards to reduce incidents of misconduct through improved training and protocols. It also aims to enhance investigations into misconduct.