The US House of Representatives has approved a sweeping police reform bill in the wake of protests over the police killing of George Floyd.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed largely along party lines but stands little chance of becoming law. It requires a majority vote in the Republican-controlled senate.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gathered with members of the Congressional Black Caucus on the Capitol steps. She challenged opponents not to allow the deaths of Black Americans to have been in vain or the outpouring of public support for changes to go unmatched. Pelosi said:
Exactly one month ago, George Floyd spoke his final words — ‘I can’t breathe’ — and changed the course of history.
She said the Senate faces a choice “to honour George Floyd’s life or to do nothing”.
On the eve of the vote on 25 June, Donald Trump’s administration said he would veto the bill. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has also said it would not pass.
Republicans are proposing their own bill, and Trump said of the Democratic proposal:
If nothing happens with it, it’s one of those things. We have different philosophies.
In the stalemate over the policing overhaul, the parties are settled into their political zones, almost ensuring no legislation will become law. While there may be apparent outrage over Floyd’s killing, politicians remain far apart on the broader debate over racism in policing and other institutions.
Not far enough
Both Democrat and Republican bills share common elements that could be grounds for a compromise. Central to both would be the creation of a national database of use-of-force incidents, which is viewed as a way to provide transparency on officers’ records if they transfer from one agency to another. Both bills would restrict police chokeholds and set up new training procedures, including increasing the use of body cameras.
The Democratic bill goes further, mandating many of those changes, while also revising the federal statute for police misconduct and holding officers personally liable for damages in lawsuits. It would also halt the practice of sending military equipment to local law enforcement agencies.
Neither bill goes as far as activists want, with calls to defund the police becoming central to the Black Lives Matter movement.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?