United States House Passes Police Reform Bill Named George Floyd – National


The House on Thursday approved a massive police overhaul by the Democrats, an emotionally charged and symbolic vote as a divided Congress struggles to respond to global outcry over the deaths of George Floyd and other black Americans.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus on the steps of the Capitol, challenging opponents not to let the dead be in vain or the outpouring of public support for the changes remain without equal. But the collapse of a Republican Senate bill leaves the final legislation in doubt.

“Exactly a month ago, George Floyd said his last words -” I can’t breathe “- and changed the course of history,” said Pelosi.

She said the Senate has a choice “to honor the life of George Floyd or do nothing.”

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The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is perhaps the most ambitious proposed package of police procedures and accountability in decades. Supported by the main civil rights groups in the country, it aims to equal the timing of the demonstrations that have invaded the streets of the country. He has almost no chance of becoming law.

On the eve of the vote, the administration of US President Donald Trump said it would veto the bill. And the majority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, also said he would not pass the house held by the Republicans.

After the GOP’s police bill was blocked this week, blocked by Democrats, Trump shrugged.

“If nothing happens with it, it’s one of those things,” said Trump. “We have different philosophies. “

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Congress is now at a familiar dead end despite protests outside its door and polls showing that Americans overwhelmingly want changes after the deaths of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others in their interactions with law enforcement. Rather, the two parties appeal to voters before the fall election, which will determine control of the House, the Senate and the White House.

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“We hear you. We see you. We are you, “said Representative Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., During the debate.

It’s been a month since Floyd’s death on May 25 triggered a global toll of police tactics and racial injustice. Since then, a funeral has been held for Rayshard Brooks, a black man shot and killed by police in Atlanta. Thursday was also the 18th birthday of Tamir Rice, a black boy killed in Ohio in 2014.

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Legislators who worked at home during the COVID-19 crisis were summoned to the Capitol for an emotional debate lasting several hours. Dozens voted by proxy under the new pandemic rules.

During the day, several Democratic lawmakers read the names of those killed, shared experiences of racial prejudice, and echoed the support of activists from the Black Lives Matter.

Representative Karen Bass, D-Calif., President of the Congressional Black Caucus, said hundreds of thousands of people “in every state of the union” are walking the streets to make sure that Floyd “will not be fair another black man dead at the hands of the police. “

Republican lawmakers countered that the bill goes too far and did not include the GOP’s contribution. “All lives matter,” said representative Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz. New York representative Pete King said it was time to defend law enforcement, “men and women in blue.” GOP leader Kevin McCarthy decried the “crowd” of protesters.

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At one point, representative Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., Stood up to say that he simply did not understand what was going on in the country – from the death of Floyd to the protests that followed. Several black Democrat lawmakers have stood up to encourage him to buy a book of American history or watch some of the many films streaming about the experience of black people in America.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Noting Emmett Till’s legacy, asked the others to “walk in my shoes.”

In the impasse of the police overhaul, the parties are settled in their political zones, almost guaranteeing that no legislation will become law. While there may be mixed indignation over Floyd’s death, lawmakers remain far removed from the broader debate on racial prejudice in the police and other institutions. The vote in the House of 236-181 was largely on the party lines. Three Republicans joined the Democrats in favor of the move, and no Democrats opposed it.

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The two bills share common elements which could constitute grounds for compromise. The creation of a national database on use of force incidents, seen as a means of ensuring the transparency of officers’ files in the event of transfer from one organization to another, is at the heart of these two elements. . The bills would limit police blockages and establish new training procedures, including by increasing the use of body cameras.

The Democratic bill goes much further, imposing many of these changes, while revising the federal police misconduct law and holding officers personally responsible for damages in prosecutions. It would also put an end to the practice of sending military equipment to local law enforcement agencies.

Neither bill goes as far as some activists wish by calling for police reimbursement and the transfer of resources to other community services.

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Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only black Republican senator who drafted the GOP package, said the bill is now “closer to the trash than it ever was.” ”

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“I am frustrated,” he said on Fox News Channel.

Scott insisted that he was willing to change his bill with changes proposed by the Democrats. But Democrats doubted that McConnell would allow for in-depth debate and instead blocked the GOP bill.

Senate Democrats believe Senate Republicans will face increasing public pressure to open negotiations and act. But before the November elections, it seems uncertain.

Associated Press editors Laurie Kellman, Andrew Taylor, Darlene Superville and Jill Colvin contributed to this report.

© 2020 The Canadian Press


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