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A cyclist donning a face mask pedals across a quiet Orange Avenue at Church Street in downtown Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, April 15, 2020, as Central Floridians continue to respond to the coronavirus crisis. Governor Ron DeSantis' issued a statewide Stay-At-Home Executive Order for all Florida residents that went into effect April 3, 2020, currently set to expire on April 30. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 17 April 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) and Cory A. Booker (D-NJ) on Friday led a letter to Attorney General William Barr and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray demanding racial profiling training for all law enforcement during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter comes after reports of African American men being targeted by law enforcement based on the CDC’s guidance to wear face coverings.

“On April 3, the CDC recommended that individuals “wear face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.” Less than one week later, African American men began reporting incidents of racial profiling for adhering to the CDC’s guidance,” the lawmakers wrote.

They continued, “With the ongoing public health emergency, it is more important than ever for law enforcement to build trust with communities of color. Accordingly, we urge your agencies to immediately provide training and guidance on bias, policing, and disproportionate or selective enforcement during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also urge your agencies to encourage the use of federal guidance to create model recommendations at the state and local level.”

Joining Harris and Booker on the letter are Senators Durbin (D-IL), Markey (D-MA), Hirono (D-HI), and Cardin (D-MD).

A copy of the letter can be found here.

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