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Where the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act stands in DC a year after his killing

Al Green
AP Poll Race and Policing
Posted at 10:52 AM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 13:58:05-04

Congress failed to meet President Joe Biden’s goal of passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act before the one-year anniversary of the Minneapolis man’s murder on Tuesday.

However, all hope is not lost on the matter. Floyd’s family is set to spend Tuesday afternoon advocating for the passage of the bill as they meet with Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and two senators who are working on the legislation, Democratic Cory Booker and Republican Tim Scott.

The police reform bill was approved by the Democrat-controlled House for a second time back in March, but the legislation has been stalled in the Senate. Democrats hold a slim majority in that chamber of Congress, but they would need at least 10 Republicans to sign off on the measure for it to pass because of the 60-vote filibuster rule.

The bill, which was introduced last summer amid the protests calling for racial justice, addresses a wide range of issues regarding policing practices and law enforcement accountability.

The legislation passed by the House would aim to increase accountability for law enforcement misconduct, restrict the use of certain policing practices, enhance transparency and data collection, and establish best practices and training requirements.

Specifically, the bill would lower the criminal intent standard – from willful to knowing or reckless – to convict an officer for misconduct in a federal prosecution. It would limit qualified immunity as a defense to liability in a private civil action against an officer. And it would grant administrative subpoena power to the Department of justice in pattern-or-practice investigations.

Additionally, the bill would establish a framework to prevent and remedy profiling by authorities at the federal, state and local levels, as well as limit use-of-force and restrict the use of no-knock warrants.

The bill would also create a national registry to compile data on complaints and records of police misconduct, and establish new reporting requirements, including on the use-of-force, officer misconduct and routine policing practices, like stops and searches.

Lastly, the bill would direct the DOJ to create uniform accreditation standards for law enforcement agencies and require officers to complete training on racial profiling, implicit bias and the duty to intervene when another officer uses excessive force.

These policy changes laid out in the version of the bill passed by the House could be altered as the Senate continues to negotiate the terms of the legislation.

Sen. Booker told CBSN on Tuesday that he’s “very hopeful” about the bipartisan effort to pass the police reform bill and that “a lot of progress was made” when lawmakers worked on it over the weekend. Talks are expected to continue this week.