State Rep. Jonathan Brostoff
Press Release

Rep. Brostoff Statement on Votes against Speaker’s Task Force Police “Reform” Bills

“A Rigged Process Produced Rigged Results”

By - Jun 16th, 2021 04:02 pm

MADISON – In reflection on his votes today against passage of all of the police “reform” bills proposed by the Speaker’s Task Force on Racial Disparities, State Representative Jonathan Brostoff (D-Milwaukee) released the following statement:

“Today, I made the decision to vote against each of the police ‘reform’ bills proposed by the Speaker’s Task Force. Now, I know that this may not be a popular decision, and I know that many of my Democratic colleagues voted in favor of some or all of these bills. But I could not, in good conscience, join them in doing so.

Frankly, these bills were exactly what I feared we’d see when Republicans unveiled the Task Force instead of answering Gov. Evers’ Special Session call last summer. Those fears grew when it was announced that almost half of the members of the Task Force subcommittee tasked with reviewing law enforcement policies were either current or former law enforcement officers, or represented law enforcement organizations. And those fears were confirmed when we learned that one of the Task Force co-chairs was committed to a process that seemed to be in good faith, but produced ‘guardrails’ rather than meaningful results.

Well, a rigged process produced rigged results. Republicans got their ‘guardrails,’ law enforcement got to make a show of reform while committing to zero significant changes, and the voices and demands of the community got shut down. I refuse to co-sign a process that shows such little regard for the people we are supposed to serve.

In a moment of activism for racial justice the likes of which has not been seen since the Civil Rights Era, our neighbors and millions across Wisconsin, the United States, and the world are demanding real engagement, critical reflection, and meaningful changes to the status quo. To meet those demands with half-measures, with more delays for the sake of ‘collecting more data,’ and with an almost calcified unwillingness to consider transformational approaches; it’s an insult.

In the 1950s and 1960s, when activists demanded an end to segregation, they didn’t say ‘in certain spaces.’ When marchers demanded voting rights, they didn’t say ‘in some elections.’ When everyday people demanded an end to discrimination in housing or in the workplace, they didn’t say ‘when it’s convenient.’

Activists, marchers, and everyday people today have made their demands: it’s time to make sure police can’t brutalize or kill the people they are supposed to protect, especially people of color, with impunity. Our job isn’t to respond with stipulations, it’s to rise to the moment. The whole system is guilty. It’s time to put it on trial.

I refuse to be complicit in a process that treats our neighbors’ demands as being anything less than valid.

By voting against these bills, I said no to a rigged process, I said no to half-steps forward after a thousand steps back, I said no to scraps when people are starving for justice.

Instead, I voted for my neighbors. I voted for the families of those injured or killed by police brutality. I voted for our community members who have been organizing and marching and crying out for decades that enough is enough, and that they deserve to live in peace and with dignity.

Those community members deserve better than these proposals. They deserve legislation like Rep. Myers’ ‘Breonna Taylor Bill,’ to ban no-knock warrants; like Rep. Bowen’s ‘Philando Castile Act,’ to ban ‘warrior-style’ training for police; like Rep. Moore Omokunde’s LRB-1962, to reform police decertification and prevent corrupt cops from hopping from police department to police department; and like my proposal to end qualified immunity for police in Wisconsin.

We don’t need more time to study what issues exist, or where or when. We don’t need to pontificate on what it would take to build a better and more just future for our communities. We have the answers. We have the tools. We know how to make change happen.

For the sake of our neighbors, our state, and our souls, let’s not just stall until we fall. Let’s build a more just society today.”

Recent Press Releases by State Rep. Jonathan Brostoff

Rep. Brostoff Statement on Passage of Assembly Bill 68

“We Had the Opportunity to Pass a Budget That Worked for Everyone… This Was Not That Budget”

One thought on “Rep. Brostoff Statement on Votes against Speaker’s Task Force Police “Reform” Bills”

  1. says:

    Thank you Rep. Brostoff for standing up for racial justice and shining a light on the continued inhumanity and ignorance of those who maintain the status quo to ensure individuals of color are ‘kept in their place’ and law enforcement serves without any accountability.

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