State of Civil and Human Rights in the United States, Hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights, One Hundred and Thirteenth Congress, First Session   [open pdf - 995KB]

This is a testimony compilation from the December 9, 2014 hearing on "The State of Civil and Human Rights in the United States" held before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. From the testimony of Luis V. Gutierrez: "In the wake of the grand jury decisions to not indict the officers involved in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, communities throughout the country have taken to the streets to protest. Many are deeply dissatisfied with the decisions not to prosecute the police officers in Ferguson and Staten Island and transparently examine their actions and the circumstances that lead to the deaths of two unarmed black men. The protests also expose an equally disturbing issue--that the killings of Brown and Garner are not isolated incidents. I believe the visceral reaction around the country is because these cases represent the countless young men who are treated unjustly by the police and many question their ability to receive justice through the courts. These deaths exposed gaps in our criminal justice system, in particular, the grand jury process and the inherent conflict in bringing charges against law enforcement. Clearly we have more work to do to build trust between communities and law enforcement and our system of justice. […] Civil and human rights today in America continues to be a work in progress. Thanks to the leadership of Chairman Durbin and many of my colleagues, including those seated with me today, we are able to celebrate the strides we have made to create a more equal and just nation for all, and chart the course for continued progress in the future, but it is tempered by knowing that we cannot rest in the pursuit of justice and fairness, especially in the face of the tragic and needless loss of life." Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Patrick Leahy, Dick Durbin, Ted Cruz (testimony only available on video), Cory Booker (testimony only available on video), Luis V. Gutierrez, Keith Ellison, Cedric Alexander, Wade Henderson, and Laura Murphy.

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