Biden to host Congressional Black Caucus lawmakers Thursday to talk police reform

AP-Carolyn Kaster
President Joe Biden meets with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Biden on Thursday will meet with members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) at the White House to discuss police reform after the release of footage showing law enforcement beating Tyre Nichols.

Biden will host “a small group” of CBC members “to discuss police reform legislation and other shared priorities,” principal deputy press secretary Olivia Dalton told reporters aboard Air Force One.

“President Biden is committed to doing everything in his power to ensure our criminal justice system lives up to the promise of fair and impartial justice, equal treatment, and dignity for all,” Dalton said.

The meeting was put on the calendar two days after Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), chairman of the CBC, said Sunday he hoped to sit down with Biden to discuss policing reform.

The issue of police conduct and reform was put back in the spotlight after authorities Friday released video footage showing officers in Memphis, Tenn., beating Nichols after a traffic stop. Nichols, who was 29, died days later. Over the course of the video, officers pepper-spray, deploy a stun gun and take turns beating Nichols. 

The video sparked outrage and calls for reform, with Biden speaking to Nichols’s parents and saying he was “deeply pained” by the footage. He has called for passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which passed the Democratic-led House in 2021 but did not have the votes to pass the Senate.

The bill would create a national registry of police misconduct, ban racial profiling and overhaul qualified immunity, which shields law enforcement from liability in civil lawsuits.

One of the biggest sticking points between the two parties on police reform is the issue of qualified immunity. Democrats have insisted that qualified immunity get the ax in reform legislation, but Republicans have dug in to defend it.

Biden has signed executive actions to mandate stricter use-of-force standards and to increase accountability for local police departments, but the White House has argued congressional action will ultimately be necessary to make broader reforms.

Tags Biden Congressional Black Caucus George Floyd Justice in Policing Act Joe Biden Memphis police reform Steven Horsford Steven Horsford Tyre Nichols

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