Congress, quit stalling on police reforms

"The police reforms that are currently stalled in the U.S. Senate are so basic, so necessary and so modest that it’s embarrassing they are not already law."

Opinion

July 15, 2020 - 9:49 AM

Protestors gather outside a home in Windermere, Florida, on Friday, May 29, 2020, The home is owned by Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer videotaped kneeling on the neck of George Floyd before his death. The video has sparked a national outcry (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

The police reforms that are currently stalled in the U.S. Senate are so basic, so necessary and so modest that it’s embarrassing they are not already law.

Much of what’s in the House-passed “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act” has been adopted by police in Los Angeles and elsewhere. Much of the rest has been stuck in the discussion phase for decades, having been proposed long ago by various commissions pulled together to study why Black people, especially, are so angry at police tactics that leave so many of them dead.

The answers are self-explanatory. Should police use deadly force only as a last option? Of course. Should police be banned from intentionally cutting off the blood flow to a person’s brain or oxygen to the lungs in a chokehold that can be permanently disabling or fatal? Most certainly. Should people abused by police, or the survivors of people killed by them, be able to sue officers for their excessive use of force? Yes.

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