Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Lex Scott, the leader and founder of Black Lives Matter Utah, showed us something about how two people can sit down and talk and actually agree on some items when it comes to police reform. With the violent riots and nasty invective that has erupted after the police killing of George Floyd, a productive conversation is just what we needed.
Both Sen. Lee and Ms. Scott agreed that their meeting was cordial and productive. And they had a virtual follow up on Fox News last week. Scott explained to Fox News' Shannon Bream that her group is pushing for more data collection, an independent civilian review board, qualified immunity reform, and body camera footage legislation, for starters. Was there any common ground with the conservative congressman on these issues, Bream wondered.
"Yes, absolutely," Lee said. "One of the things I appreciate about Lex Scott is she's got a real commitment to this effort. She understands that the story of America is in many ways a story of police reform. Government power is an official coercive force and it has to be managed carefully so we can respect the dignity and eternal value of every human soul. That's what she wants to do and I'm interested in working with her on it."
In some ways, Sen. Lee was one of the perfect lawmakers to have this conversation with Scott, because he has been a leader in the fight for criminal justice reform.
Scott said she's spoken to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) on these issues as well and is "excited" for the chance to get a bipartisan bill on both the local and national levels.
There have been a few different police reform bills on the table thus far, such as Sen. Tim Scott's (R-SC) JUSTICE Act. Sen. Lee said it "wasn't a perfect bill, but it was a step in the right direction." Unfortunately, Lee explained, Senate Democrats voted against debate on how to make the bill better. Scott, the only black Republican senator in Congress, presented his bill with an emotional back story of how he too has been targeted by police because of the color of his skin.
"I'm begging please someone pass a police reform bill in Washington," Scott said.