US House Passes ‘George Floyd’ Police Reform Bill

Washington: Banning the controversial police tactics, the US House of Representatives passed a bill against officers who violate constitutional rights of suspects. 

Just days before former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin went on trial on a state murder charge in the death of Floyd last year, Democrats pushed George Floyd Justice in Policing Act through the House With a vote of 220-212. 

Photo Courtesy: Reuters

However, later on, Representative Lance Gooden, the sole Republican who voted for the legislation, tweeted that his vote had been a mistake and in fact he opposes the bill.

Who was George Floyd?

George Floyd was an African-American man who died at the age of 46 last year. He was detained with Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck for about eight minutes leading to his death. George’s killing sparked weeks-long protests led by Black Lives Matter activist groups. 

Photo Courtesy: AFP

Democratic Representative Karen Bass, who wrote the legislation with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler asked “How many more people have to die, how many more people have to be brutalized on videotape?”

What does the bill include?

The bill includes measures such as restricting certain funds to local governments that allow law enforcement officers to use choke holds, banning “no-knock warrants” that allow police officers to enter premises without announcing themselves and requiring law enforcement agencies to provide data on instances when police officers used deadly force.

Karen Bass stated that police will be held accountable in cases where constitutional rights are violated. However, local law enforcement will also be supported by promoting improvements in community policing; especially in minority neighborhoods. 

One of its most controversial provisions would change “qualified immunity” for police, further opening the door for lawsuits over the use of excessive force. 

As far as Republicans are concerned, they have opposed the Democratic bill, saying it would put law enforcement lives in danger and make communities less safe. Last summer, when the House passed the so-called George Floyd bill,  Democrats blocked a Senate Republican bill.

The police reform effort sputtered in Congress last summer after the House passed the so-called George Floyd bill and Democrats blocked a Senate Republican bill. The Republican bill also addressed issues such as police choke holds, no-knock warrants and use of police body cameras, Democrats complained it’s not aimed at mandating any changes.