That was fast. On Tuesday, somewhere among the media noise generated by the release of the #TortureReport and Jonathan Gruber’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee, Sen. Dick Durbin chaired a Senate hearing on the state of civil rights and human rights in the United States, clearly inspired by the protests over the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
On Wednesday night, the Senate passed the Death in Custody Reporting Act, sponsored in the Senate by Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), co-sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and sponsored in the House by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.). The legislation passed the House by voice vote and will be sent to President Obama for his signature.
“Tragic controversies in Ferguson and Staten Island have undercut trust and understanding between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” said Sen. Blumenthal in a press release. “Thousands have taken to the streets to protest what they see as unpunished criminal conduct by police. Alarmingly, on an issue this profoundly important and potentially explosive, there is no reliable data on the overall scope of the problem.”
That’s strange; any number of demonstrators seem to know exactly how many are killed by police each year — just grab the number off of one of their cardboard protest signs.