Democrats renew push for George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

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Democrats are renewing a push for criminal justice reform following former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s conviction in the murder of George Floyd.

President Biden, congressional Democrats and members of Floyd’s family in Minneapolis lauded the jury’s decision Tuesday finding Chauvin guilty on all three charges stemming from Floyd’s death in May, but said it was no substitute for broader action on police reform.

“George Floyd was murdered almost a year ago,” Biden said in remarks from the White House, urging Congress to take action and send the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to his desk for a signature. “It shouldn’t take a whole year to get this done,” he added.

Democrats have raised pressure on Senate Republicans to pass the bill, which would prohibit racial profiling at every level of law enforcement, ban chokeholds, carotid holds and no-knock warrants, institute a national police misconduct registry and overhaul legal protections currently afforded to law enforcement known as qualified immunity.

The legislation passed the House in March but faces an uphill battle to winning 60 votes in the Senate. Democrats have largely backed the bill, but Republicans have expressed opposition, chiefly over its provision changing qualified immunity.

Several senators on Tuesday pressed their colleagues to come around to the legislation.

“Today, a jury delivered justice and accountability for the murder of George Floyd,” Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) tweeted. “While I feel a sense of relief about today’s verdict, systemic racism and disparate policing still exist in the US —necessitating the urgent passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.”

“The jury has reached a just verdict. But nothing will bring back George Floyd or all those who should still be alive. We must move urgently to defeat systemic racism in all its forms and the Senate must pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) added.

Other congressional Democrats pushed for the Senate to take up the legislation.

“We must honor his life by passing the George Floyd #JusticeInPolicing Act to prevent this from ever happening again,” Rep. Donald Norcross (D-N.J.) tweeted.

“Black Americans have lived in fear for too long. The Senate must pass the #GeorgeFloydJusticeInPolicingAct to help end the targeting of Black communities by police,” tweeted Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.). 

Democrats have touted their desire to pass comprehensive criminal justice reform beyond the legislation named after Floyd, though partisan divides have prevented any bills from making it to the president’s desk in recent years.

Democrats’ renewed calls come after Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges he faced for Floyd’s murder. Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. 

Video of Floyd’s death went viral last year after Chauvin pinned him down by his neck for more than nine minutes, sparking nationwide protests.

Tags Black Lives Matter Chris Van Hollen Derek Chauvin Donald Norcross George Floyd George Floyd Justice in Policing Act Institutional racism Joe Biden Killing of George Floyd Law enforcement in the United States Mazie Hirono Suzanne Bonamici United States racial unrest

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