Biden to sign policing order on second anniversary of George Floyd’s death

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during an event with Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Euisun Chung, at the Grand Hyatt Seoul
Evan Vucci/Associated Press
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during an event with Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Euisun Chung, at the Grand Hyatt Seoul

President Biden on Wednesday will sign an executive order on the two-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd that intends to increase accountability and transparency in policing, the White House announced. 

The executive order would establish a national database of officers who have been fired for misconduct and require federal agencies to update their policies on use of force. 

The database of disciplinary records will apply to federal officers and state and local jurisdictions that partner with the federal government on joint task forces. It will cover more than 100,000 officers in total, senior administration officials said. 

The order will ban federal officers from using chokeholds unless deadly force is authorize, and it will restrict the transfer and purchase of military equipment by local police departments. 

The measure will also limit the circumstances under which federal law enforcement can use no-knock warrants, and it will stipulate that certain federal grants for state and local police departments will be contingent on having proper accreditations in place. 

“The executive order is the product of an incredibly robust engagement process and reflects the input of a large coalition. For the past several months we have been at work on this,” a senior administration official told reporters. 

Wednesday’s signing ceremony will come two years to the day that Floyd was killed after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned him to the street and kneeled on his neck. Floyd’s killing set off a wave of protests across the country against police brutality and racial injustice.  

Much of the attention has been on what Biden would do unilaterally as policing reform negotiations fizzled in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, and they were again stymied last year in a 50-50 split Senate. 

The executive order has been in the works for months. It was reportedly reworked after police groups pushed back against the language and reforms included in a January version. Senior administration officials said they met with groups like the Fraternal Order of Police, the NAACP, National Action Network and civil rights attorney Ben Crump to workshop the final version.

Civil rights leaders have long urged Biden to sign an executive order while cautioning the burden is on Congress to enact permanent changes.  

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would overhaul qualified immunity and outlaw no-knock warrants and chokeholds at the federal level, passed the House last year but has stalled in the Senate.  

“Tomorrow will mark 2 years since George Floyd’s cruel murder at the hands of police officers. We know full well that an executive order cannot address America’s policing crisis the same way Congress has the ability to, but we’ve got to do everything we can,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement. “There’s no better way to honor George Floyd’s legacy than for President Biden to take action by signing a police reform executive order.”  

A senior administration official said the White House used the House-passed legislation as a basis for developing the executive order, going farther than the bill in some areas and scaling back others. Biden will continue to push for the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the official said.

Updated: 9:50 p.m. ET

Tags Biden Derek Chauvin George Floyd George Floyd police reform
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