The sister of the black federal law enforcement officer, Patrick Underwood, who was shot and killed in California during the George Floyd protest on Wednesday lambasted the violence against police, as well as looting and burning tactics, saying such a response will not solve racial injustice.
Angela Underwood Jacobs testified before the House Judiciary Committee during a hearing on police practices and law enforcement accountability, telling lawmakers:
House Judiciary / YouTube
I want to ensure the memory of my brother Patrick is a catalyst against injustice, intolerance, and violence of any kind. I want to honor my brother, Dave Patrick Underwood, and our family and help our nation think about how to navigate the righteous path to equality, freedom, and nonviolent systemic change.
Mr. Underwood was killed in Oakland on May 29 as he attempted to keep the peace amid the violent riots in dozens of cities across America in the wake of Floyd’s death in Minnesota.
Floyd died on May 25 after the now-fired white police officer charged with murder, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee to George’s neck for nearly nine minutes while he was handcuffed face down in the street. Lawmakers from both parties described Floyd’s death as murder.
Floyd’s death sparked protests in the United States and beyond. Some protests devolved into riots and looting that left at least 13 people dead, including Mr. Underwood, and injured dozens of others.
Speaking against the death of Floyd while in police custody, Jacobs testified:
The officers involved should be brought to justice and held accountable for their actions as well as their inaction. I wish that same justice for my brother Patrick, who served with distinction and honor as a federal officer for the Department of Homeland Security until he was murdered anonymously by blind violence on the steps of the federal courthouse in Oakland, California.
As he took his last breath, on the cold, hard cement after being shot multiple times, he died. Fear, hatred, ignorance, and blind violence snatched the life of my brother Patrick from all of us. America is in pain, and she is crying. Can you hear her? I am here to seek justice to the chaos for my brother Patrick, for George Floyd, for citizens of all colors, for communities across America, and for the police officers that protect those communities and their citizens every day.
In addition to Chauvin, authorities in Minnesota have charged three other officers who witnessed the incident with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
Referring to Floyd’s death, Jacobs, who is also a city council member for Lancaster, CA, declared:
The actions of a few are dividing us as a nation. We will never solve generational systemic injustice with looting burning, destruction of property, and killing in the name of justice. When those in a position of authority choose to abuse their power, that is a very definition of oppression. And when innocent people are harmed in the name of justice, no one prevails. We all lose.
Police brutality of any kind should not be condoned, however, it is blatantly wrong to create an excuse out of discrimination and disparity to loot and burn our communities, to kill our officers of the law.
Jacobs also repudiated the “defund the police” calls promoted by some Democrats and other leftists. Democrat leaders have distanced themselves from the push to “defund the police,” which has become a battle cry for many Floyd protesters. She said:
It is a ridiculous solution to claim that defunding police departments is the solution to police brutality and discrimination because it’s not a solution. It gets us nowhere as a nation and removes the safety net protection that every citizen deserves from their communities elected officials.
All 12 witnesses, including Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, expressed opposition to efforts to “defund the police.”