President Biden on Wednesday called on Congress to pass policing overhaul legislation by May 25, the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd.
“We need to work together to find a consensus,” Mr. Biden told a joint session of Congress. “But let’s get it done next month, by the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death.”
He touted House-passed legislation named after Floyd. The bill would set up a national database for police misconduct, ban the use of chokeholds and “no-knock” warrants, and end “qualified immunity” that shields officers from civil lawsuits stemming from carrying out their duties.
Sen. Tim Scott, the South Carolina Republican tapped to deliver the GOP response to the address, is pushing his own bill that drops Democrats’ qualified immunity language, which is the biggest sticking point in the talks.
“We’ve all seen the knee of injustice on the neck of Black Americans - now is our opportunity to make some real progress,” the president said.
The recent trial of Derek Chauvin has lent urgency to the cause. Chauvin, a White former Minneapolis police officer, was found guilty last week of murder and manslaughter charges tied to the death of Floyd, who is Black, in May 2020.
Mr. Biden said the “vast majority” of police serve communities “honorably.”
“I know them. I know they want to help meet this moment as well,” he said.