PoliticsStacy M. Brown

Senators Fail to Reach Deal on Police Reform Bill

Talks to enact the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act were halted Wednesday after a bipartisan team of Senate negotiators announced it failed to reach a deal.

Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) called off the talks. No further discussions are in the works.

“Unfortunately, even with this law enforcement support and further compromises we offered, there was still too wide a gulf with our negotiating partners, and we faced significant obstacles to securing a bipartisan deal,” Booker said.

“The effort from the very beginning was to get police reform that would raise professional standards, police reform that would create a lot more transparency, and then police reform that would create accountability, and we’re not able to come to agreements on those three big areas,” the senator added.

Lawmakers had worked toward a measure following the May 2020 death of George Floyd while in police custody.

Optimism about a deal peaked in April when a jury convicted former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin of Floyd’s murder.

Floyd’s killing led to global protests and corporate awareness of the call that Black lives matter.

Introduced by Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act addressed a range of policies and issues surrounding police practices and accountability.

The bill sought to lower the criminal intent standard to convict a law enforcement officer for misconduct in a federal prosecution.

In addition, the measure 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.

Notably, the measure establishes a framework to prevent and cure racial profiling by law enforcement at the federal, state and local levels.

It restricts the use of no-knock warrants, chokeholds and carotid holds.

“On behalf of the families of George Floyd and so many others who have been impacted by police violence, we express our extreme disappointment in Senate leaders’ inability to reach a reasonable solution for federal police reform,” civil rights attorney Ben Crump said in a statement.

“In the last year and a half, we have witnessed hundreds of thousands of Americans urging lawmakers to bring desperately needed change to policing in this country so there can be greater accountability, transparency, and ultimately trust in policing,” Crump said. “People — including many police leaders — have raised their voices for something to change, and partisan politics once again prevents common-sense reform. We cannot let this be a tragic, lost opportunity to regain trust between citizens and police.”

Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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