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Congress passes police reform bill named after George Floyd

• On June 25th the Congress passed a bill that addressed the global outcry against the death of George Floyd and other African Americans at the hands of the police.

• House speaker Nancy Pelosi gathered with members of the Congressional Black Caucus on the Capitol steps challenging opponents not to allow the deaths to be in vain or the outpouring of public support for changes to go unmatched. The collapse of a Republican bill leaves the final legislation in doubt.

• Nancy Pelosi said,” “Exactly one month ago, George Floyd spoke his final words — ‘I can’t breathe’ — and changed the course of history. The Senate faces a choice, to honour George Floyd’s death, or do nothing”

• The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is an ambitious set of proposed changes to police procedures and accountability. Some of these changes include a nationwide ban on chokeholds, reforms “qualified immunity” for law enforcement, bans no-knock warrants, a national registry of police misconduct, makes lynching a federal crime.

• It is backed by the nation’s leading civil rights groups and aims to match the moment of demonstrations that filled streets across the country, even with all this it has almost zero chance of becoming law. 

• At the time of the vote, the US President Donald Trump said he would veto any bill that cut off police powers. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has also said it would not pass the Republican-held chamber.

• After the GOP bill stalled this week, blocked by Democrats, President Donald Trump has said, “If nothing happens with it, it’s one of those things, we have different philosophies.”

•  Lawmakers are far apart on the broader debate over racial bias in policing and other institutions. The 236-181 House vote was prominently on party lines. 3 Republicans joined Democrats in favour of passage and no Democrats were opposed.

• Both bills allow for the creation of a national database of the use-of-force incident to provide transparency on officers’ records if they transfer from one agency to another, restrictions on police chokeholds and setting up of new training procedures and beefing up the use of body cameras.

• The Democratic bill wishes to mandate many of those changes, while also revising the federal statute for police misconduct and holding officers personally liable for damages in lawsuits. It also halts the practice of sending military equipment to local law enforcement agencies.

Reporter : Jovan

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