President Biden today signed an executive order for major police reform on the second anniversary of George Floyd's murder by Minneapolis police.
The order creates a national registry of officers fired for misconduct and encourages state and local police to tighten restrictions on chokeholds and so-called no-knock warrants. It also restricts the transfer of military equipment to law enforcement agencies and mandates all federal agents wear activated body cameras.
Biden had been pushing Congress to pass more comprehensive police reform legislation, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. But after the legislation failed to garner bipartisan support, the White House began crafting its own action last year. Biden called again on Congress again to take action before signing the order.
“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,” Biden said.
“Today, we’re acting. We’re showing that speaking out matters, being engaged matters, and that the work of our time, healing the soul of this nation, is ongoing and unfinished and requires all of us never to give up. Always to keep the faith.”
Police reform has been a key issue with the Democratic Party’s progressive base, particularly among Black voters, but the White House event Wednesday was overshadowed by the Texas elementary school shooting the day before. During his remarks, Biden called on Congress once again to pass gun reform legislation.
"And we must ask, when in God’s name will we do what needs to be done?" Biden said.
"I’m sick and tired. I’m just sick and tired of what’s going on and continues to go on," he said.
The family of Floyd, who died after he was pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer, was at the White House for the signing. The families of other Black people killed by police in recent years — Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Amir Locke and Atatiana Jefferson — also attended, a senior administration official said.
Under the new executive order, law enforcement will be required to intervene and stop the use of excessive force when they see it and administer medical aid to those who are injured.
I'm glad this happened, but let's remember that the White House floated a police reform EO back in January, and both Black Lives Matter groups and police unions flipped out after Republicans blocked the George Floyd Policing Act.
We should have gotten a much tougher national police reformation act, and the next time we get a GOP president, these all disappear, just like Trump did to Obama's executive actions time and time again.
And who knows, the Supreme Court may just nullify it all anyway.
Black Lives Still Matter.