Biden Signs Police Reform Order On Anniversary Of George Floyd’s Death

Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday aimed at increasing policing accountability and improving public safety. The president signed the order on the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, who died at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer who knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes.

At the White House ceremony, the president was joined by Floyd’s family and the family of Breonna Taylor, who was killed in 2020 by officers executing a “no-knock” warrant in an apartment in Louisville, Kentucky. Civil rights leaders and members of Congress were also in attendance.

Biden described the order as a notable result of nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice in 2020 following Floyd’s death. “It’s a measure of what we can do together to heal the very soul of this nation,” Biden said. “To address profound fear and trauma, exhaustion that particularly Black Americans have experienced for generations, and to channel that private pain and public outrage into a rare mark of progress for years to come.”

According to The White House, the executive order establishes a national database of officers fired for misconduct and encourages state and local law enforcement to tighten restrictions on chokeholds and “no-knock warrants”.

It will also restrict the transfer and purchase of military equipment by local police departments. Administration officials said that the order signed on Wednesday would apply to roughly 100,000 federal officers.

President Biden called out Senate Republicans for not supporting The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a package of reforms passed by the House last year, that did not garner enough bipartisan support to advance.

“I know progress can be slow and frustrating, and there’s a concern that the reckoning on race-inspired two years ago is beginning to fade,” Mr. Biden said. “But acting today, we’re showing what our dear friend, the late John Lewis, congressman, wrote in his final words after his final march for justice in July 2020 — he said, ‘Democracy is not a state. It is an act.’”

Vice President Harris said it was an honor to be joined by the families on Wednesday, and their courage moved her. “Your loved ones should be with us today,” she shared. “You should not have to mourn, should never have had to mourn in order for our nation to feel your pain and to understand what is wrong and to agree that something must be done.”

Harris also criticized Senate Republicans for not supporting the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, stating the GOP members “walked away from their moral obligation to address what caused millions of Americans to march in the streets.”

The Biden-Harris Administration says it will continue to push for permanent legislation to apply reforms to the state level.

TOPICS:  executive order george floyd police reform

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