Biden signs executive order to hold federal officers accountable
Biden signs executive order holding federal police accountable in honor of the second anniversary of the police murder of George Floyd. NBC News photo
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President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, establishing comprehensive rules for the use of force by ‘federal’ law enforcement officers. His executive action comes on the second anniversary of George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin was convicted on June 25, 2022, and sentenced to 22 plus years in prison. 

Although the executive order doesn’t directly affect state and local law enforcement to tighten restrictions on chokeholds and no-knock warrants, it provides a grant for those agencies to do so.

Moreover, the executive order creates a national registry of officers who have been fired from agencies for misconduct and restricts the transfer of most military equipment to law enforcement agencies. The law does direct federal agencies to revise their use-of-force policies. 

“We remain horrified by what we witnessed.  And we are here today, in memory of George Floyd and all those we have lost, to take action,” Vice President Kamala Harris stated.

Congressional action stalled as Biden signs executive order

The law enforcement officers of our nation — well, they swear an oath to protect and to serve, and the vast majority do so honorably. Yet we know, too often, when there is a use of biased policing and excessive force — when that occurs, it too often is not met with accountability, denying equal justice not just to individuals but to whole communities and, therefore, to our nation as a whole.

“Trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve is critical to ensuring public safety,” Vice President Kamala Harris said. 

While the Biden Administration and activists say it’s a step in the right direction, they are still encouraging Congress to act in order to prevent incidents like George Floyd or Eric Garner from happening again.   

“This executive order is going to deliver the most significant police reform in decades.  It applies directly, under law, to only 100,000 federal law enforcement officers — all the federal law enforcement officers.  And though federal incentives and best practices they’re attached to. We expect the order to have significant impact on state and local law enforcement agencies as well,” President Joe Biden said, and later added, “I promise the Floyd family, among others, that George’s name is not just going to be a hashtag.”  

Families of police violence victims react

Some of the families of victims of deadly police violence were also in attendance. 

One of them was Dr. Tiffany Crutcher of the Terence Crutcher Foundation. 

“The Senate still must pass the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act. Congress still must end qualified immunity. And my hometown of Tulsa still must create a robust, citizen-led Office of the Independent Monitor. My family and I have been fighting for nearly six years for justice. Every single day since losing my twin brother Terence Crutcher to a violent and poorly trained officer has brought pain and heartache. But we are committed to ensuring Terence’s name is synonymous with justice. And we will not stop working,” Dr. Crutcher said.

“This is a step toward a more just America and I am grateful to President Biden for taking it. Now, I urge him, all of our elected leaders, and all Americans to commit ourselves to take the next step, and then the next, and continue moving forward until justice is realized,” she added. 

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump responds

One of the most visible defenders of police violence victims, attorney Ben Crump, also responded to the signed EO.

“We’re grateful to POTUS for imposing meaningful federal police reform. The executive order will help ensure that officers w/ a track record of violence are identified, restrict chokeholds & no-knock warrants by federal law enforcement, & impose use-of-force standards federally,” Crump wrote on Twitter.

While the Biden Administration and activists say it’s a step in the right direction, they are still saying that Congress needs to act in order to prevent incidents like George Floyd or Eric Garner experienced from happening again.   

The George Floyd Justice and Police Act bill that was introduced by the U.S. House of Representatives in February 2021 which was intended to hold accountable police misconduct and address racial bias in policing passed the House down a partisan line and failed in the Senate.

Nehemiah D. Frank is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Black Wall Street Times and a descendant of two families that survived the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Although his publication’s store and newsroom...