- Muslim group urges standalone vote for Rep. Hank Johnson’s bipartisan Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/24/21) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, today called on the 22 House Democrats who voted against Representative Hank Johnson’s amendment that would have taken a significant step in demilitarizing the police to “stop siding with police unions over their minority constituents.
Rep. Johnson’s amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the nation’s annual $768 billion defense spending bill, would have curtailed the DOD’s Section 1033 program from transferring to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies specified property such as controlled firearms, ammunition, grenade launchers, explosives, certain vehicles or trucks, armored or weaponized drones, certain controlled aircraft, silencers, or long-range acoustic devices.
According to the Huffington Post, a day before the vote, “the National Fraternal Order of Police sent a letter to House leaders from both parties urging them to vote against Johnson’s amendment.”
In a statement, CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw said:
“CAIR calls on the 22 House Democrats who voted against Representative Hank Johnson’s amendment that would have taken a significant step toward demilitarizing the police to stop siding with police unions over their minority constituents.
“These 22 Democrats cannot say ‘Black Lives Matter’ when they are voting in lock-step with police unions over the interests and safety of their minority constituents.
“Restricting federal, state and local law enforcement from getting access to surplus military hardware like vehicles, weapons and drones saves minority lives and protects peaceful protestors from heavy-handed police responses.
“These 22 House Democrats should reverse course by supporting a standalone House vote for Rep. Johnson’s bipartisan Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act.”
While 196 Democrats and two Republicans voted in favor of the amendment to demilitarize the police, the following 22 House Democrats voted against the measure, causing it to fail:
Rep. Cynthia Axne (D-IA)
Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL)
Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL)
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX)
Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-NY)
Rep. Val Butler Demings (D-FL)
Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX)
Rep. Jared F. Golden (D-ME)
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NY)
Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA)
Rep. James A. Himes (D-CT)
Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI)
Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA)
Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV)
Rep. Stephanie N. Murphy (D-FL)
Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH)
Rep. Scott H. Peters (D-CA)
Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR)
Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA)
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX)
Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA)
Present for the vote, Congresswoman Sarah Jacobs (D-CA) abstained from voting on the amendment to demilitarize the police.
Prior to the vote, CAIR endorsed Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s NDAA amendment 754, which would have placed a complete moratorium on the DOD’s 1033 program.
Even though CAIR and more than 90 civil and human rights and faith groups supported that amendment, it was not approved by the House Rules Committee to be voted on the House floor.
In keeping with the recommendations of CAIR’s June 2020 report, “Ending Police Violence: Reducing & Reinvesting Police Department Budgets into Critical Social Services, Health, School and Other Beneficial Programs,” CAIR continues to support placing a moratorium on the purchasing of new military surplus gear obtained through the 1033 program and other unnecessary tactical and riot gear.
CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell, 404-285-9530, e-Mitchell@cair.com; CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, email@example.com