Sen. Gary Peters hosts online forum on racial justice

Peters, former AG Holder talk police reform

Sen. Peters hosts online forum on racial justice

LANSING, Mich. – In a virtual campaign event, Sen. Gary Peters (D) touted recent proposals in the Senate on policing reform. Peters was joined by MI NAACP Rev. Wendell Anthony and former Attorney General Eric Holder in the discussion which lasted just over an hour.

Peters said policing reform is a “long list of issues” but focused heavily on transparency and accountability for officers and police departments including a way to keep track of officers who act improperly so they can’t move from department to department. He also stressed the need for incentives for those who join law enforcement in their communities or those who choose to live in the communities they police.

READ: ‘Defund the police’: What it means and why activists are calling for it

“Law enforcement departments will benefit by having folks who grew up in that community people who’ve lived there a long time they know that community,” Peters said. The proposal echoed a portion of the recent plan put forth by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this week.

Peters also criticized Senate Republicans for not passing what he considered meaningful reforms. Peters joined Senate Democrats last week to block the Republican written policing bill, calling the bill “not a legitimate starting point.” The bill was blocked and serious progress on bipartisan police reform has stalled, although Peters touted several bipartisan bills he has proposed

“We did not see that in the senate. The Republicans did not put forward the kind of concrete action that we need to take right now,” he said.

All three panelists discussed the intersection of the coronavirus and race, calling for swifter action from the federal government to protect minority communities and essential workers. In Michigan, the majority of essential workers are people of color.

“The Trump administration’s reaction to the COVID-19-19 prices is almost like a textbook example of a dereliction of duty, a failure to lead,” Holder said.

In a statement Peters’ opponent, John James called the event “PR.”

“Gary Peters doesn’t speak for black people. We speak for ourselves,” he said echoing what he told Local4 on this week’s Flashpoint.

“I believe that representation matters,” he said. “I believe that if we’ve been successful the first time, not only will we have an African-American kind of black male from Detroit, representing us in this reform debate.”

According to recent polls Peters’ lead shrank during the month of June from 15 points to 7 points ahead of James.