With a 220-212 vote, the House lawmakers approved a police reform bill known as the George Floyd justice in Policing Act on Wednesday night. The bill was initially scheduled to be passed on Thursday, but it was moved up due to a potential threat to the Capitol in relation to the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Police Reform Bill Named After George Floyd
According to The Hill, the bill would ban chokeholds and eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement. The bill was passed nine months after a 46-year-old Black man, Floyd, was killed by Minneapolis police officers last spring.
In addition, the wide-ranging bill would also be banning those no-knock warrants, prohibit racial and religious profiling, mandate data collection on police encounters, and redirect funding to community-based policing programs. Also, it will prevent problem officers from moving from one department to another by creating a national registry in tracking those with checkered records.
Moreover, Representative Karen Bass, D-California emphasized in her statement that never again should an unarmed individual be murdered or brutalized by someone who is supposed to serve and protect them. She also added that never again should the world witness what previously transpired on what happened to George Floyd in the streets in Minnesota, NPR reported.
Also, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D), the representative of the Minnesota district where Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police last May, served as Speaker pro tempore during the debate on the House floor on Wednesday night. Omar shared that she is still traumatized by the death of Floyd as time and time again they have witnessed the people who are sworn to protect their community abuses their given power.
The George Floyd justice in Policing Act received just one vote from the Republicans and that is courtesy of Representative Lance Gooden (R-Texas). While, two Democrat representatives voted against the measure, that Rep. Ron Kind (R-Wisconsin) and Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine).
On the other hand, the bill faces a tough road in the Senate as GOP lawmakers are already bashing it as overly partisan. Last year, the House was also able to pass a similar version of the bill; however, it failed in the Republican-controlled Senate.
For the bill to pass Senate, Democratic Senators will have to get at least 10 nods from Republican members for the bill to be successful. Earlier this week, the administration of the United States President Joe Biden released a statement urging the House to vote in favor of the said proposal.
The statement mentioned that in order to make communities safe, the government must start rebuilding trust between law enforcement and the people they are entrusted to serve and protect. The statement also emphasized that they cannot rebuild that trust if they will not hold police officers accountable for abuses of power while also tackling systematic misconduct and systematic racism in the police departments, USA Today reported.
On Monday, US President Biden also pushed the passage of the George Floyd justice in Policing Act on Twitter in the Senate. On his Twitter account, Biden posted that following Senate consideration, he hopes to sign into law a landmark police reform bill.