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George Floyd Justice in Policing Act gains momentum; legislation not yet finalized

george floyd justice in policing act

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus walk to make a make a statement on the verdict in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. From left are Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind. Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Tex. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Lawmakers have announced a preliminary agreement on provisions to the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which passed the House of Representatives in March. The legislation is part of a bipartisan effort to address criminal injustice and police accountability.

Following the murder of George Floyd, along with countless other Black men and women, nationwide demands for an end to state-sanctioned police brutality reached a crescendo. Last week, a bipartisan committee of Senators Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Representative. Karen Bass (D-Calif) reached a tentative deal on the bill. 

In a joint statement, the politicians confirmed, “After months of working in good faith, we have reached an agreement on a framework addressing the major issues for bipartisan police reform.”

Tentative deals comes after Derek Chauvin’s sentencing

President Joe Biden initially wanted the final legislation passed and signed by the anniversary of Mr. Floyd’s death in late May, but the soft deadline came and went without lawmaker agreement. 

Derek Chauvin, the former law enforcement officer who placed his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes until he died from lack of oxygen, was found guilty of two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter in April. He was sentenced this week to 22.5 years in prison. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison noted that the punishment was not as harsh as prosecutors had sought, and demanded that Congress pass the strongest version possible of the original George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. 

Regarding former officer Chauvin’s sentence, Mr. Ellison said the punishment “is not justice [but] another moment of real accountability on the road to justice.” He continued, “Every one of these bills at every level of government is critical for helping our families, our law enforcement officers, and communities in the country heal. I call on leaders and members of Congress to pass the best and strongest version of this bill that can be passed and to pass it now.”

Qualified immunity

Meanwhile, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights issued a statement regarding the updated George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. “The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act was conceived and created with a focus on accountability and contains provisions overwhelmingly supported by the American people. This vital civil rights legislation is long overdue.”

There is no word on when the final bill will go to Congress for approval or whether it will limit or end qualified immunity for individual police officers.

1 comment

Earl July 1, 2021 - 1:46 pm

Define ‘countless’ please. Asking for a friend

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