Young, WFT teammates testify for police reform

Washington Football Team defensive end Chase Young, whose father was in law enforcement, testified before the Maryland House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, expressing support for police reform.

Teammates Nick Sundberg and Dontrelle Inman also voiced their support for House Bill 670, which would repeal the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, among other things. It would also authorize a judge to issue a no-knock search warrant “only under certain circumstances.” And it would make an individual attending a public institution of higher education “exempt from paying tuition if the individual intends to become a police officer under certain circumstances.”

Young, named the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year on Saturday, grew up in Prince George’s County, Maryland, but his father spent 22 years as a police officer in Arlington, Virginia. One uncle was a police officer for 20 years in Prince George’s County. Two other uncles and two cousins are police officers.

But Young told the committee that when he’s driving and sees the police, “I have tactics to where I’m looking straight forward making sure my seat belt is on, doing everything I have to do to not get pulled over. I don’t know what can happen.”

Young said that when he was young, he wanted to go into law enforcement — and says he still might do so one day. His family’s history of working in law enforcement prompted him to support the bill. But, despite this, he said, “I would still worry about police in my community, about how I moved around or how they looked at me if I do drive up to 7-11 in my nice Mercedes, ‘Why you giving me this look?’ It’s something that becomes numb and it’s like everyday life. And everyday life is being real cautious all the time.”

Young, Inman and Sundberg were thanked for their testimony by Maryland state delegate Vanessa Atterbeary via Twitter:

Like Young, Sundberg and Inman have been on a number of videoconference calls with legislatures from Virginia and Maryland about police reform. But speaking in front of the Maryland Judiciary Committee represented another step for them.

“One of the biggest aspects of this bill that is so important is the transparency and accountability for police officers,” said Sundberg, a long-snapper. “It’s important for all of us to trust our law enforcement officers. I had a son five days ago; I can’t imagine feeling some of the things that have been expressed on this call.”

Inman, a receiver, said that when confronted with the COVID-19 virus, America attacked it. He wants that same action for police reform.

“Change doesn’t come unless the feeling of pain outweighs the feeling of change,” he said. “It will take all of us to change what we’re living in right now and what we’re living in right now is a disease.”

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