A junior Democrat refused to cooperate on new rules to further prevent execution without a proper trial, a Kentucky Republican senator revealed.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has blamed Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) for taking months to consider an amendment to the Emmet Till Antilynching Act that would help prevent minor crimes from attracting an excessive prison sentence. This bill does not ban lynching rather it allows authorities to punish those found guilty of conspiring to lynch, according to Paul.
Paul claimed he had contacted Booker’s office several times since March 2020 to request the minor change but the Democrat repeatedly rejected the proposal.
“I ask in a very polite way as I have been asking for three months for one small change and I will let the bill go today on this day, if we can have it,” Paul said in a video shared on YouTube. “The change has been out there, they are not brand new, they have been in Sen. Booker’s office for three months and … I would ask the senator’s consent to pass the bill as amended.”
Booker’s failure to cooperate resulted in the bill failing to pass the Senate on June 4. The same legislation received overwhelming support in the House back in February with a final tally of 410 votes for and four against. Three Republicans and one independent representative voted the legislation down because it could constitute “government overreach” according to Newsweek.
Paul warned the current wording offers no protection for relatively light crimes like slapping someone in the face or suffering minor injuries as a result of falling over.
“Slapping someone and hurling a racial epithet can get you 10 years in prison,” he said. “[Another example is] somebody shoves somebody [else] in a bar and they fall down, and have an abrasion, and they say he did it because of a racial animus toward me, and you have a 10 year penalty—that is not right.”
He suggested adding a definition to the bill that conspiracy to lynch must include an attempt to inflict bodily harm.
“We should not have a 10-year prison sentence for anything less than, at the very least, an attempt to do bodily harm,” he said. “What I am trying to do is to make sure we do not get unintended consequences. We fought the battle against mandatory minimums for a decade now because we tie up people in sentencing that makes no sense … this is exactly what we have been fighting about in criminal justice reform.”