Last week bipartisan negotiations broke down for the federal bill that would have brought transformative change to how police officers operate. The George Floyd Justice in Policing bill was essentially killed by Senator Tim Scott, R-SC, after talks with Senator Cory Booker, D-NJ, failed to come to any sort of compromise.
One of the main sticking points for Sen. Scott was ending qualified immunity, despite Sen. Booker receiving support from the Fraternal Order of Police to end qualified immunity.
Two of the biggest organizations representing police in America, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Fraternal Order of Police, have slammed the reasoning given by Sen. Scott for not advancing the bill. The two groups released a joint statement saying:
Police Organizations blast Sen Tim Scott
“The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) are disappointed that Senate negotiators could not reach agreement on police reform legislation, and we thank all those Members of Congress who partnered with us in this effort. Our organizations were, and remain, committed to enacting carefully balanced and thoughtful legislation that promotes systemic criminal justice reform, while adopting a strategic approach to combating crime and prioritizing community and officer safety,’ the statement said.
“Despite some media reports, at no point did any legislative draft propose “defunding the police.” In fact, the legislation specifically provided additional funding to assist law enforcement agencies in training, agency accreditation, and data collection initiatives. It is our joint belief that the provisions under discussion would have strengthened the law enforcement profession and helped improve the state of community police engagement without compromising management and officers’ rights, authorities, and legal protections.”
Sen. Booker said in a statement that “Even with law enforcement support and further compromises we offered” during the talks, Booker felt “there was still too wide a gulf with our negotiating partners and we faced significant obstacles to securing a bipartisan deal,” USA Today reported.
No action after stalemate fails to produce results
Rep. Karen Bass, who wrote the House version of the bill that has yet to be voted on by the Senate, said despite compromising on important parts of the bill, Republican Tim Scott has been unwilling to do the same.
“But every time, more was demanded to the point that there would be no progress made in the bill that we were left discussing,” Rep. Bass said.
“With our counterparts unwilling to come to a compromise, we have no other option than to explore further avenues to stop police brutality in this country. I will not ask our community to wait another 200 days.”