May 25, 2022

Congressman Neguse Issues Statement on President Biden’s Executive Order on Public Safety

Washington, D.C. — Today, Congressman Neguse (CO-2) issued the following statement on President Biden’s executive order to strengthen public safety and advance effective, accountable policing two years after the murder of George Floyd: 

“Today, President Biden signed a historic executive order strengthening public safety. Importantly, among its provisions, the Executive Order includes a requirement that the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services issue guidance on the use of ketamine outside the hospital setting, a reform that our office has repeatedly advocated for directly with the Biden administration over the past year,” said Congressman Neguse. He continued, “I want to thank, in particular, Ms. McClain, Elijah McClain’s mother, for her fearless advocacy, converting her anguish into action and speaking out about the brutal use of ketamine for arrest and detention. In the months to come, we will continue to engage the DOJ and HHS on ways to restrict the use of this highly dangerous drug.” 

Over the past year, in his capacity as a member of the Congressional Black Caucus Executive Board, Congressman Neguse has participated in multiple meetings and discussions with the Biden administration concerning the Executive Order. In particular, Congressman Neguse advocated for the inclusion in the Executive Order of reforms targeting the use of ketamine outside of hospital settings. 

The Executive Order comes three years after the passing of Elijah McClain in Aurora, Colorado, whose tragic death was the result of the incorrect and unnecessary usage of ketamine during a police stop. The Biden Administration is directing new guidance during responses, ordering the Attorney General and the HHS Secretary to identify federal resources for innovative models to respond to persons in crisis, including guidance on the use of pharmacological agents such as ketamine outside the hospital setting.Last year, Congressman Joe Neguse, along with Congressman Jerry Nadler, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Chair of the U.S. Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Representatives Jason Crow, Pramila Jayapal and Mondaire Jones introduced new legislation, the Ketamine Restriction Act, to ban the use of ketamine during an arrest or detention, other than in a hospital.