Rosendall speaks at Council ceremony for Patterson Demonstration bill
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Rosendall speaks at Council ceremony for Patterson Demonstration bill

Chairman's signing ceremony for Bill 15-968
First Amendment Rights and Police Standards Act of 2004
D.C. Council, John A. Wilson Building
Monday, January 10, 2005

Remarks by Richard J. Rosendall
GLAA Vice President for Political Affairs

Today is a happy day. This bill sends a strong message to our police that abuses like those in Pershing Park in September 2002 will not be tolerated. The most disturbing thing about that affair was not the incident itself but its aftermath. Chief Ramsey, with whom I am happy to say we have otherwise had a productive and cooperative relationship, insisted for months that he had nothing to apologize for, and the Mayor praised his handling of the incident. It was not until a year later, after a federal judge ordered the release of the internal investigation report, that they acknowledged there were problems with that unlawful mass arrest.

There's a saying, "Who will police the police?" Well, now we know - the D.C. Council. Thanks to Kathy Patterson for shepherding the bill through her committee, and to her committee staff. And congratulations to Kathy on a superb tenure at Judiciary. Thanks to Chairman Cropp for steering the bill through the full Council. I think it's fair to say she is the toughest and most effective Council Chair that we've ever had. Thanks to our friends at the ACLU for their excellent efforts, as well as to the National Black Police Association, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and the AFL/CIO. And thanks to the 12 Councilmembers who voted for this bill. Incidentally, welcome to our 13th vote, Kwame Brown. We are also eager to work with Phil Mendelson as he takes the chair at Judiciary, and I know he's up to it because we've worked with him before. And welcome to Vincent Gray, who has just joined us.

At a time when our civil liberties are increasingly under attack, it is highly gratifying that our own elected representatives have voted overwhelmingly to defend our First Amendment freedoms.

Thank you all, and congratulations.