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BIAA HOME : Call on Congress to Improve Discriminatory Policing

Call on Congress to Improve Discriminatory Policing


Last week, Minneapolis police officers arrested George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, after a deli employee accused him of buying cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill and called 911. While being arrested, Mr. Floyd was held down by a police officer’s knee on his neck and died minutes later of asphyxiation from sustained pressure.

The death of Mr. Floyd was the third in a series of highly publicized fatalities perpetrated by police officers toward black people last month. These events expose discriminatory police tactics and the vast racial disparities that exist in the criminal justice system. Many medical groups have released statements emphasizing that racism is a public health issue, and the Brain Injury Association of Kansas and Greater Kansas City (BIAKS-GKC) along with the Brain Injury Association of America, join these groups in echoing this concern. 

George Floyd’s death is part of an ongoing pattern of excessive police violence toward minorities that includes tragedies like that of Keith Lamont Scott, a black man with traumatic brain injury (TBI) who was shot by a police officer in 2016. Mr. Scott was preceded in death by Eric Garner, a black man who was killed after being placed in an illegal chokehold by an NYPD officer in 2014. Mr. Floyd, like Mr. Garner, was also killed at the hands of a police officer. The deaths of these men demonstrate the unresolved problem of militarized policing in the United States. 

We join with citizens across the country who are angry, frustrated, and deeply pained by continuing discrimination against black communities, minorities and people with disabilities. “We call on Congress to address the use of maneuvers that restrict oxygen or blood flow to the brain such as chokeholds, knee-to neck, and similar restraints,” said BIAA President/CEO Susan Connors. “Violent maneuvers such as these can result in brain injury and often death.” Further, BIAA urges Congress to support the Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Law Enforcement Training Act, sponsored by Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Don Bacon (R-Neb.). The bill would direct the Attorney General to develop crisis intervention training tools for use by law enforcement officers and first responders, with a focus on interacting with persons with brain injury and PTSD.

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