House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed the new Senate GOP policing package Wednesday, saying it doesn’t offer any real change.
“The Senate proposal of studies and reporting without transparency and accountability is inadequate. The Senate’s so-called Justice Act is not action,” she said in a statement. “In contrast, Democrats’ George Floyd Justice in Policing Act contains real, structural legal reforms to end court-created barriers to accountability, provisions for independent investigations of misconduct, increased pattern and practice investigative authority, and a transparent national registry of police misconduct that is accessible to the public.”
“During this moment of national anguish, we must insist on bold change to save lives,” the California Democrat added.
Leadership from both the House and Senate have said the opposing chamber’s proposals are non-starters, setting up a collision course even as they call for a bipartisan deal on this.
“They want to basically…federalize all of these issues. That’s a non-starter. The House version is going nowhere in the Senate,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said this week. “It’s basically typical Democratic overreach to try to control everything in Washington.”
The Democrats’ mandates anti-bias training, imposes national use-of-force standards and makes it easier to sue officers for misconduct in the line of duty.
It also includes chokehold and “no-knock” warrant bans as well as an anti-lynching provision. It goes further by proposing a national use of force standard, creates a national misconduct registry, and limits qualified immunity.
One of the biggest outstanding issues is qualified immunity, which protects government officials from lawsuits of acting in their official capacity.
It is not included in the GOP package — with Sen. Tim Scott, South Carolina Republican, saying they’re open to a conversation, but as a demand its a “poison pill.”
The GOP plan ramps up requirements for police departments to report on use of force and “no -knock” warrants and provides incentives for chokehold bans. It provides grants for training resources and body cameras, with penalties for improper use of the recording devices.
The Justice Department will have a large role in implementing new de-escalation training procedures across the country, particularly regarding duty-to -intervene policies that will require officers to step in when they witness excessive force.
The bill will also create two new commissions. One will review the criminal justice system, while the other will take a more holistic approach in reviewing conditions affecting black men and boys in multiple areas including education, health care, finance and the justice system.
Like House Democrats’ bill, the Senate GOP’s does make lynching a federal crime.
Both the Senate and House will vote on their bills next week — ahead of the July 4th holiday.
• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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