Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) member Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., Wednesday demanded “historic leadership” from the president and investment in ending poverty, housing, climate and education in the wake of Tyre Nichols’ death at the hands of the police.
Bowman spoke on CNN’s “At This Hour with Kate Bouldan” prior to the funeral of 29-year-old Nichols. Nichols’ name came to national light after footage was released of five officers beating him during a traffic stop, leading to his death.
President Biden is expected to meet with the CBC this week and, after confirming it would happen, Bouldan asked Bowman, “Do you see Joe Biden as leading on this issue?”
Bowman replied, “Joe Biden needs to be the leader on this issue. We need him to provide —”
“Do you see him as a leader now?” Bouldan interjected.
“No,” Bowman responded.
He continued, “We need him to historic leadership in this moment. And when I say historic, I’m talking Roosevelt and Lincoln-type historic leadership on this issue and so many others. We cannot just paint around the edges because that maintains the status quo. We have to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. We have to introduce and pass the People’s Justice Guarantee so community members can reimagine and restructure public safety in our country.”
He added, “The research shows we need a public health approach to public safety. You want to make us safer? Invest in poverty, in ending poverty, invest in housing, invest in climate, invest in education. That is how we make our country safer. What we’re doing is adding more police and feeding the prison industrial complex and that has to stop.”
Despite being a fellow Democrat, Bowman has frequently criticized President Biden since he was first elected to the House in 2020. Shortly after Biden’s election, Bowman implored him to pay back minority communities after receiving their support.
“Black and Brown communities organized across the country to make sure Joe Biden won the White House, and he did that, but now it’s time for payback. And now it’s time to make sure that we invest the resources necessary to rebuild our nation in a way that is representative of all of us, so we can truly have the people’s house,” Bowman said.
He also offered a progressive Democrat response to Biden’s first address to Congress in 2021. In 2022, he repeatedly dodged the question of whether or not he would support Biden running for a second term in 2024.
Within the CNN interview, Bowman also called for more investment in community issues rather than the police.
“What taxpayers don’t really understand is that your taxpayer money is not just paying for police salaries and pensions, it is paying to defend them in court when they are being charged for a heinous crime that they committed. It is also paying for the settlements that come because the majority of lawsuits against police are paid for in settlements that come from taxpayers. Insurance companies have to pay for this. Wall Street bonds have to pay for this. Cities are going into debt to pay for police brutality cases and all of this falls back on the taxpayer. So it is on all of us to mobilize a movement across the country to change this,” Bowman said.