House Democrats introduce policing reform bill named for George Floyd

Democrats say they want to change the culture of policing.

June 4, 2020, 3:42 PM

House Democrats introduced a sweeping policing reform measure on Thursday named for George Floyd, in an effort to take action after his death and the resulting worldwide protests over racism and police brutality.

The George Floyd Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act, from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, and co-sponsored by Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Jason Crow, D-Colo., and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., calls for new national policing standards and accreditations.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is shown during a House Judiciary Committee meeting on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Dec. 13, 2019.
Patrick Semansky/Reuters, FILE

It would require every state, local and federal law enforcement agency to provide data to the Department of Justice on the use of deadly force by and against police officers, along with data on traffic and pedestrian stops.

It would also make funding grants available to police agencies studying and creating new recruitment, hiring and oversight programs, and require the Justice Department to establish a task force to coordinate efforts to investigate and prosecute cases of law enforcement misconduct.

“It is a bill for this moment in history,” Jackson Lee told ABC News as she traveled to Floyd’s funeral in Minneapolis.

The Texas Democrat, who has introduced the measure in previous sessions of Congress, said the proposal “tries to alter the culture” of policing in America.

“Officers … want to go home to their families, we acknowledge that,” Jackson Lee said. “But we acknowledge that it’s important that those they confront go home as well. And we have not been seeing that as it relates to African American men.”

People lay down in protest over the death of George Floyd near the U.S. Capitol, June 3, 2020, in Washington, D.C.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The proposal is one of several new measures Democrats could work to advance following the killing of George Floyd and resulting protests over racism and police brutality across the country.

On Wednesday, Omar, from Minnesota, introduced four bills, including a proposal to establish a federal agency to investigate deaths in police custody and from officer involved shootings across the country, and another to criminalize violence against protestors by police – who, in many instances, are shielded by a legal doctrine known as qualified immunity.

Earlier this week, former vice president and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden endorsed a bill from Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., to outlaw police chokeholds.

And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said on Thursday that House and Senate Democrats would introduce comprehensive police reform in the coming days.

"Many of these bills have been in the hopper. And now with all the public exposure of it, we have a better chance of getting them turned into law," she said on a conference call.

While Democratic leaders have vowed to pass new legislation after Floyd’s death, it’s not clear what measures the GOP-held Senate will consider – or if President Donald Trump would sign any of them into law.

“It’s not lost on me that there are over 70 cosponsors of this bill, and none of them are Republicans. That’s a problem,” said Crow, who marched with protesters in Denver on Wednesday. “So I tell all my Republican colleagues, today will be a good day to do the right thing. Tomorrow will be a good day to do the right thing, You can join this."

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday said he would be consulting with Republican members on potential legislation. He said he would support improving police officer training and making it easier for officers to be removed for cause.

“I do not believe that anybody should be judged by the color of their skin. They should not judge all just by the color of their uniform,” he said.

ABC's Mariam Khan and Sarah Kolinovsky contributed to this report.

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