Police reform bill gets new urgency

Congressional negotiators want to pass policing reform legislation, but lawmakers remain divided.


National News

April 28, 2021 - 9:42 AM

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 09, 2019 Kirk Samuels with Community Coalition chants with a group of nearly 100 people in a new coalition of 15 social justice organizations across Los Angeles called PUSH LA "Reimagine Protect and Serve" massed for a press conference in front of LAPD Headquarters Wednesday morning with demands to Mayor Eric Garrett and LAPD Chief Michel Moore on police reform. The press conference was called after data featured in the LA Times revealed that LAPD is searching Black and Latinx drivers at rates of 4 to 1 and 3 to 1, respectively, compared to white drivers, but that they're finding less contraband. The group notes of there 350,000 stops analyzed over a 10 moth period, nearly three quarters of those stripped were Black and Latinx drivers and many of these searches happened after stops for minor equipment violations. The group claims these disparities are clear evidence of racial profiling that is happening across all divisions of the LAPD. Photo by (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

WASHINGTON —  Although congressional negotiators remain optimistic about reaching agreement on a police-reform bill in the coming weeks, many of the same issues that divided Democrats and Republicans last summer when they first tried to pass policing reform after George Floyd’s murder remain as sticking points.

Lawmakers — working mostly behind closed doors — hope the conviction last week of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin could provide the tipping point after decades of failed attempts to overhaul policing tactics.

As angry crowds filled the streets last summer to protest Floyd’s killing, Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., introduced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which passed the House by a 236-181 vote. It would have banned chokeholds, ended “qualified immunity” for law enforcement officers and created national standards for police training. Republicans argued it went too far to federalize policing decisions normally left to states and local jurisdictions.

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