“#Senate Republicans pledge vote on police reform bill as early as next week”
June 17, 2020 | 10:22am | Updated June 17, 2020 | 10:29am
The bill, drafted by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), contains incentives for local departments to restrict use of chokeholds, purchase and use body-worn cameras and keep information on use-of-force incidents and no-knock raids.
The bill also would make lynching a federal crime, create a commission to study conditions of African-American men and boys and fund efforts to recruit black police officers.
Scott, the only black Republican senator, said at a morning press conference that he understands the need for police reform because he’s been stopped “driving while black” repeatedly — including this year, he said, when he was pulled over for allegedly not activating his blinker early enough while changing lanes.
“Too often we’re having a discussion in this nation, about, are you supporting the law enforcement community, or are you supporting communities of color. This is a false binary choice,” Scott said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said he would move for a vote swiftly, as early as next week.
“Senator Scott has made it possible for those of us in the Senate Republican conference, who are not African American to understand that this problem still exists,” McConnell said.
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), who pushed for funding to recruit black officers, said “this is about making a law, not just making a point.”
President Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order that will create a system for tracking police misconduct, ban most chokeholds, incentivize officer training and send social workers on some nonviolent police calls.
Democrats in the House are pushing for further steps, including limiting safeguards that protect officers from facing legal or civil action in court — an emerging point of contention with Republicans.
The Democratic bill also would ban police from conducting no-knock raids when serving drug warrants, curtail the transfer of surplus military equipment to local and state police agencies and lower the threshold to federally prosecute officers if they exhibit a “reckless disregard” for someone’s life.
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