Angela Underwood Jacobs, former Lancaster city councilwoman and 25th Congressional District candidate, rebuked demands to defund police and urged Congress on Wednesday to focus on other areas facing racial inequality after her brother, a federal law enforcement officer, was killed during a protest in Oakland.
“America is in pain, and she is crying. Can you hear her? I am here to seek justice through the chaos for my brother Patrick, for George Floyd, for citizens of all colors, for communities across America and for the police officers that protect those communities and their citizens every day. Actions of a few are dividing us as a nation,” she said Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee during its police brutality and social injustice hearing.
Federal Protective Service Officer Patrick Underwood, 53, was stationed at a U.S. Courthouse in Oakland near a protest that turned violent. He was shot and killed May 29 during a drive-by, which also injured another federal law enforcement officer.
Underwood Jacobs said her brother was “murdered anonymously by blind violence,” and which the Department of Homeland Security labeled an act of “domestic terrorism.”
While she said police brutality of any kind “must not be condoned,” Underwood Jacobs said looting and rioting must not also be accepted and called defunding police “ridiculous.”
“It is a ridiculous solution to proclaim that defunding police departments is a solution to police brutality and discrimination. It gets us nowhere as a nation and removes the safety net of protection that every citizen deserves from their communities’ elected officials,” she said.
Instead, she urged lawmakers to look into other areas such as education, jobs and housing.
“The solution to our nation’s ills are straightforward: education. We need to actually invest in education, again, and make it our nation’s top priority. Through education comes knowledge, through knowledge comes understanding, and through understanding comes opportunity and freedom,” she said.
In 2015, Underwood Jacobs joined Lancaster’s City Council as that city’s first black councilwoman and launched her campaign for the 25th Congressional District, which includes the Antelope, Santa Clarita and Simi valleys, earlier last year, before stepping out of the race in November ahead of the March primary.
She remembered her brother as someone with an infectious laugh and a family man. The family has set up a GoFundMe account to cover Underwood’s funeral and memorial services. The account can be found by searching “Designated Support for Patrick Underwood’s family.”