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Stop the pain!


WASHINGTON, DC, United States (AP) — George Floyd’s brother challenged Congress yesterday to “stop the pain” as lawmakers consider a sweeping law enforcement overhaul, so the man he loved and looked up to won’t be just “another name” on a growing list of black Americans killed during interactions with police.

Philonise Floyd’s appearance before a House hearing came a day after funeral services for his older brother, the 46-year-old African American whose death has become a worldwide symbol in demonstrations calling for changes to police practices and an end to racial prejudices.

“I’m here today to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain,” Philonise Floyd told the silenced hearing room.

Choking back tears, he said he wants to make sure that his brother, whom he called “Perry,” is “more than another face on a T-shirt, more than another name on a list that won’t stop growing”.

Floyd challenged lawmakers to be leaders: “Our country, this world, needs the right thing.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler gavelled in the session, many lawmakers and witnesses masked during the COVID-19 outbreak, as Democrats review the Justice in Policing Act, a far-ranging package of proposals amid a national debate on policing and racial inequity.

Repercussions after the weeks of protest continued nationwide.

President Donald Trump ruled out changing the names of army bases named for Confederate Army officers, NASCAR announced it is banning the Confederate flag from its races and venues, and Amazon said it will suspend police use of its facial recognition technology for a year.

In Washington, lawmakers also heard testimony from civil rights and law enforcement leaders as Congress considers changes to police practices and accountability after Floyd’s death in police custody and the mass protests that followed.

“Today we answer their call,” Nadler said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi watched from the hearing audience, and the House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy also joined.

Republicans are criticising activists who want to “defund the police” — a catch-all term for shifting law enforcement resources — though the Democratic Bill does not call for that. Trump and allies have seized on the word to portray Democrats as extreme as GOP lawmakers rush to come up with their own proposals.

“The American people understand that it’s time for a real discussion,” said Rep Jim Jordan of Ohio, the ranking Republican on the panel. But he said what they also understand is that “it is pure insanity to defund the police”.

For hours, witnesses described what one called a “lynching” over what happened to Floyd on May 25, and others placed his death alongside those of other African Americans that have created a tally becoming difficult for lawmakers in Congress to ignore.

Representatives Karen Bass, D-California, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, which is leading the legislative effort, said the proposed changes reflect a nation coming to grips with a history of racial injustice.

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