George Floyd-Inspired Police Reform Bills Fail

George Floyd Inspired Police Reform Bills Fail

(ReliableNews.org) – On May 25, 2020, George Floyd died while being restrained by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide, saying he’d still be alive were it not for the officer kneeling on his neck. A jury agreed and found former Officer Derek Chauvin guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. A judge sentenced him to 22.5 years in prison. The former officer is now appealing his conviction. 

Although other officers involved in the incident will face trial, that wasn’t enough for some activists. Democratic lawmakers worked to pass police reform bills in the wake of Floyd’s death. It seemed there might be a bipartisan agreement at one time, but those days are gone — the legislation has now failed. 

Police Reform Failure

On Wednesday, September 22, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) said the bipartisan police reform bill was dead in the Senate. The announcement came months after Democrats in the House passed their version of the legislation. Booker told the press that the Left wanted “true accountability, transparency” and updated policing standards. He went on to say there “was still too wide a gulf” with Republicans. 

Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) worked with Democrats for months on a bipartisan police reform bill. The senator was acting as the voice of the GOP, and he made it clear that they wanted to implement changes, but the party was not going to allow legislation that targeted police and cut budgets to go through. Scott was “deeply disappointed” Democrats chose to walk away from negotiations. 

Crime will continue to increase while “safety decreases, and more officers are going to walk away from the force because my negotiating partners walked away from the table,” Senator Scott said in a statement about the matter. 

Disagreements

Republicans and Democrats fundamentally disagreed about what should go into the legislation. The Left wanted to get rid of qualified immunity for police officers, opening them up to personal lawsuits for acts carried out while on the job. The GOP made it very clear that it would not be on the table.

Scott also said the Democrats wouldn’t “let go of their push to defund” law enforcement. Many progressive lawmakers want to strip departments of critical funding and divert it to other community programs. Republicans agree that there should be a focus on mental health programs, banning chokeholds, and limiting the transfer of military equipment, but reducing police budgets wasn’t going to happen.

For now, once again, Congress is unable to move forward. 

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