President Biden Urges Congress to Pass Police Reform
President Joe Biden is calling on Congress to take action in response to a new report from the Department of Justice on the Minneapolis Police Department. This report comes in the wake of the high-profile death of George Floyd in 2020, which sparked nationwide protests against police brutality.
Attorney General Merrick Garland recently announced that the Minneapolis Police Department’s “patterns and practices” of excessive force contributed to Floyd’s murder. President Biden echoed these concerns in a statement, emphasizing the need for common-sense reforms that promote public trust, combat racial discrimination, and enhance public safety.
Garland’s Investigation and Proposed Consent Decree
Garland’s remarks came at the conclusion of a two-year investigation into Floyd’s murder by the DOJ. The investigation aimed to determine whether the police department engaged in unconstitutional or unlawful policing. As a result, former officer Derek Chauvin is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for Floyd’s murder.
During his remarks in Minneapolis, Garland revealed that the Justice Department, the city of Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis Police Department have agreed in principle to negotiate a consent decree. This court-enforceable agreement would address the issues surrounding policing in the city.
Biden’s Call for Federal Action
President Biden is urging further action at the federal level, specifically the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Since taking office, the Department of Justice has already taken independent and aggressive action to hold police departments accountable for systemic misconduct. Biden believes that trust, safety, and accountability are what the majority of Americans desire.
Additionally, Biden emphasized the importance of providing funding, resources, and training to police departments. He reiterated this stance during his 2022 State of the Union speech, stating that public trust is the foundation of public safety.
The Tragic Circumstances of George Floyd’s Death
George Floyd was arrested by Minneapolis police for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill. During the arrest, Floyd resisted, leading to officers forcing him to the ground while handcuffed. Derek Chauvin then placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes. The medical examiner later ruled Floyd’s cause of death as “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression,” classifying it as a homicide.
President Biden met with George Floyd’s daughter, Gianna Floyd, in May 2022 as he signed an executive order focused on policing. However, he believes that the legislative branch must take further action.
Biden’s Message to Congress
In a direct message to Congress, President Biden stated, “I have a simple message for Congress: send the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to my desk, and I will sign it.” He expressed his commitment to fighting for police accountability and expressed his willingness to work with both Republicans and Democrats to find genuine solutions.
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