Black chiefs of staff pen letter to Texas legislature outlining racial justice goals

Texas Politics

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Normally operating behind the scenes, working to support their bosses in the Texas Legislature, 10 Black chiefs of staff wrote a letter outlining policy goals to address racial injustice in the state.

Max Lars, chief of staff for state Rep. John Bucy III of Cedar Park, said the group regularly works together but never before spoke with its own voice until the death of George Floyd.

“We’re chiefs of staff, we know our privilege of chiefs of staff, but we’re Black first,” Lars said. “We wanted to make sure that we’re using our voice to help Black Texans across the state.”

The letter called on lawmakers to address 20 specific topics:
• Ban no-knock warrants
• Ban the use of strangleholds (carotid restraints), hog-tying and prone positions
• Create a statewide police officer professionalism (misconduct) database
• Create civilian oversight review boards with subpoena powers
• Institute a duty to intervene
• Invest in rigorous and sustained police training
• Limit the use of force by law enforcement officials
• Reallocate funds appropriated to the Texas Department of Public Safety and to
• provide more support services
• Reinforce the right of civilians to record the police
• Require independent investigations of police-involved criminal cases
• Require the use of body cameras and dashboard cameras; penalty for deactivation
• Restrict police officer indemnification and pensions

Lars said his boss, state Rep. John Bucy III, is supportive of the effort and offered to help. In addition to Lars, LaJuana Burton, Melissa Bradford, Odus Evbagharu, Camille Foster, Alex Hammond, Christian Manuel, Abel Mulugheta, Khanay Turner, and Anneliese Vogel signed the letter.

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