Tim Scott: Rayshard Brooks case shows de-escalation training is ‘so important’
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the point man for Senate Republicans’ police reform bill, said Sunday that the death of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta illustrates the need for the de-escalation training provisions in the legislation.
Brooks allegedly ran from police after they attempted to arrest him in a Wendy’s parking lot on suspicion of driving under the influence, grabbing an officer’s stun gun before he fled. Video of the incident appears to show Brooks turning to aim it at one officer before the officer fatally shoots him.
“One of the challenges in these split-second decisions is the need for more training, that’s why the de-escalation aspect is so important,” Scott said, although he called Brooks case “a far less clear one” than the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“In order for us to provide more opportunities to de-escalate these situations and reduce the use of force we have to have effective training,” he added.
Scott, the sole black Republican in the Senate, outlined the major provisions of the Senate legislation, saying that first “we have to have all the information” about use of force.
“Today, only 40 percent of all law enforcement departments are actually providing information to the [Department of Justice],” he said. “We need a hundred percent as it relates to serious bodily injury and death. When an officer uses force, we need to have all the information.”
Scott also said the actual process for disciplining police remains a point of contention between Democrats and Republicans.
Scott added that removal of qualified immunity, a legal doctrine under which government employees cannot be held civilly liable for actions performed while doing their jobs, is considered a “poison pill” by GOP senators, but that de-commissioning officers, the Republicans’ favored solution, is likewise considered a poison pill by police unions.
“We’re going to have to find a path that helps us reduce misconduct … but at the same time we know that any poison pill in legislation means we get nothing done, that sends the wrong signal, perhaps the worst signal right now in America,” Scott said. “I think we’re going to have legislation that can be negotiated that gets us to the place where something becomes law that actually makes a difference, that’s got to be our goal.”
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