'Now is the time:' Milwaukee County legislators consider changes to law enforcement processes

MILWAUKEE -- George Floyd's brother testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, June 10 as the House considers policing reforms -- a debate that is being had across the country, including in Milwaukee County.

Philonise Floyd (Photo by Graeme Jennings - Pool/Getty Images)

For nearly nine minutes, a Minneapolis police officer with a history of misconduct allegations kneeled on Floyd's neck. Floyd died following that incident, and the video that shows it sparked more than two weeks of protests across the U.S. and the world.

"People of all backgrounds, genders and races have come together to demand change," Philonise Floyd, George's brother, said during his testimony.

Philonise spoke to U.S. lawmakers as the House considers a sweeping package of police reforms limiting legal protections for officers, banning chokeholds and creating a national database of excessive-force incidents.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner

"I see nothing wrong with having a 'bad cop database,' but having a bad cop database isn't going to get somebody fired who ought to be fired," said Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin). "The sooner we get the bad cops off the force, the sooner there will no longer be any bad apples to spoil the whole barrel."

George Floyd (L) and Derek Chauvin (R) - Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao have been charged with aiding and abetting former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd. (Credit: Hennepin County Sheriff's Office)

"Don't get it twisted. We support law enforcement. What we don't support are those bad apples -- and we need those good police officers," Felesia Martin, supervisor of Milwaukee County's 7th District, said.

Felesia Martin

Similarly, the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors' Black Caucus on Wednesday announced it is developing proposals to reform the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office and how it works.

Among the ideas proposed are emphasizing community-led training of deputies for de-escalation, re-allocating sheriff's office funds to those who are experts in social and mental health fields and taking a hard look at how policing is done in communities of color.

"It is a heavy lift, but I believe we are ready for it right now," said Martin. "We are not only ready for it, we are willing, and we are capable to do this. And now is the time to do it."

Marches and demonstrations, protesters say, will continue until such reforms are made.

Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office