- The Washington Times - Monday, June 15, 2020

President Trump on Monday called the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks by an Atlanta police officer “very disturbing,” and said he will sign an executive order Tuesday to improve policing nationwide.

“I thought it was a terrible situation,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House. “To me, it was very disturbing.”

Mr. Brooks was shot in the back by an officer after a struggle when police attempted to arrest him for driving under the influence. He grabbed one of the officers’ Taser guns and appeared to point it at an officer as he ran away, before he was shot.

The president said he’ll issue a “very comprehensive” executive order, in the works for more than a week, to address some of the civil unrest over police tactics. It will include a pilot program of “co-responders” that will allow police to bring in social workers and experts that deal with mental health and addiction issues during their duties.

Senior administration officials said the order will create a nationwide system for tracking police officers who get complaints of excessive force, to remove “bad apples” and prevent them from being hired in another department.

The event at the White House will bring together law-enforcement officials and family members of people who have been killed by police.

Administration officials emphasized that the action will not seek to “defund” any police departments. An official said many minority communities “want more law enforcement” rather than disbanding police forces.

The executive order will not mandate changes in return for federal funding. Officials said the move will encourage departments to adopt changes, for example, to stand a better chance of qualifying for supplemental federal grants.

The order also will encourage police departments to engage in better training to de-escalate conflicts.

“We’re going to have some solutions,” Mr. Trump said. “The overall goal is we want law and order. It’s about justice also. It’s about safety.”

A medical examiner in Atlanta has declared the death of Mr. Brooks to be a homicide. Protests erupted after his death, the police chief quit and the officer suspected in the shooting was fired.

The death occurred nearly three weeks after another black man, George Floyd, was killed in police custody in Minneapolis.

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