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House Passes Police Reform Bill

The House on Thursday passed a sweeping police reform bill driven by the chamber’s Democrats in response to the death of George Floyd, with Republicans countering that the vote was a public-relations stunt that wasted an opportunity for compromise.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, passed on a 236-181 vote, would restrict chokeholds and ban federal agents from serving no-knock warrants.

The bill would also curtail transfers of military equipment to police, create an officer misconduct registry, end qualified immunity from lawsuits and lower the threshold for federally prosecuting officers if they show “reckless disregard” for someone’s life.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said “it would be a moral failure to accept anything less than transformational change.”

Republican opposition centered largely on elimination of qualified immunity for police officers, which protects them from lawsuits for misconduct. However, three GOP members — Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Will Hurd of Texas and Fred Upton of Michigan — voted with Democrats to approve the bill.

The legislation almost certainly will not pass in the GOP-controlled Senate, which is haggling over its own police reform bill.

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