Tuesday July 16th, President Trump signed an executive order which may be the first step on police reform but it’s sparked criticism for not being enough to help an already tense racial situation between overzealous police officers and unarmed black men and women.
Tuesday morning, President Trump started his speech in the rose garden in front of the media and top police officials touting the names of some of the Black men and women who died in the hands of police. Among the names were Ahmaud Arbery, Botham Jean and Atatiana Jefferson. Immediately after touting the names, Trump went on to ignore the police infractions and went on to praise the work of the police. He praises the police for their efforts in stopping crime and their efforts against looters. Throughout the praising of police, Trump mentions nothing about racism or how the names he mentioned were murdered in the hands of overzealous police officer.
He signed the executive order surrounded by police officials. He then walked back into the White House without answering questions from the media.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urged Republicans to not accept for minor changes.
He said, “Now is the time to seek bold and broad-scale change,”
Schumer made this statement based on the weeks of protests following the murder of George Floyd and anger over others who died in the hands of police. Schumer, Pelosi, and other feel that the executive order doesn’t do enough to help bridge the gap between black people and the police.
Some of the things in the executive order call for a national database of police infractions to track officers in the same way school districts track teachers who sexually assault students. The database will be created by the Attorney General and the information will be shared on the Federal, State, Local, Territorial and Tribal level. That includes all fifty states, U.S. territories and even on Native American soil. There are several other things in the order but the main selling point is the database.
“The President's Executive Order lacks meaningful, mandatory accountability measures to end misconduct,” Pelosi said in a statement. “During this moment of national anguish, we must insist on bold change, not meekly surrender to the bare minimum.”
The House Democrats drafted their own bill called The George Floyd Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act of 2020 (the subtitle for the Justice In Policing Act of 2020). The bill is supposed to reform police practices creating and setting forth new rules and procedures for police conduct set by the U.S. Attorney General like banning the use of choke holds. There will also be requirements for receiving federal funds put together under the Omnibus Crime Control and the Safe Streets Act of 1968. The bill also mandates studies of police training procedures and the creation and partaking in certain pilot programs as a before receiving government funds. Ultimately, the bill reforms the hiring practices of Law Enforcement agencies.
The bill likely to die in the Senate not only because it was introduced by Democratic House Judiciary Committee but also because the Republicans have drafted their own bill. Put together by the Senate’s only Black Republican Tim Scott wouldn’t ban chokeholds but it would withhold federal funding from police departments who don’t stop the deadly act. It also requires police departments to keep and update disciplinary information on police officers to be shared with other officers. It’s a permanent record that will follow officers transferring departments or looking for other jobs but it falls short of calling for a national database to track complaints against individual officers. It does focus on data collection about other bad police practices like “no knock” warrants.
The bill also falls short to eliminate an immunity clause which will protect individual officers for being held personally liable for their actions while on the clock. It’s not a full police reform bill because it’s a measure Republicans including President Trump with not support. It’s a narrative that still has yet to be played out. The H.D. Insider will provide updates as they become available.