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Politics More than a year after George Floyd's killing, Congress can't agree on police reform

08:45  24 september  2021
08:45  24 september  2021 Source:   abcnews.go.com

George Floyd fund has awarded over $50,000 in scholarships

  George Floyd fund has awarded over $50,000 in scholarships MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A fund set up to honor George Floyd and raise awareness about racial injustice said Monday that it has awarded more than $50,000 in scholarships since it was created. The George Floyd Memorial Foundation said it has recently given scholarships valued at $1,000 to 15 law school students, scholarships valued at $10,000 to interns, and $2,500 scholarships to undergraduate students. The foundation said it has also awarded $25,000 to Fayetteville State University, a historically Black college in North Carolina. Foundation executive director Jacari Harris said the scholarships keep Floyd's memory alive and support students.

George Floyd ' s death prompts reform . The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act was introduced in June 2020, very soon after Floyd , a Black man, was killed by then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin during an arrest. The Justice in Policing Act aimed to establish a national standard for policing practices, collect better data on police use of force and misconduct, ban the use of tactics such as no-knock warrants, and limit qualified immunity, which protects officers against private civil lawsuits.

Police reform talks in Congress have fallen apart, as lawmakers could not strike a bipartisan deal despite the loudest calls in years to root out law enforcement violence against Black Americans. " After months of exhausting every possible pathway to a bipartisan deal, it remains out of reach right now, even The collapse of the talks ends the last major effort to change federal police standards that had a chance to get through Congress with support from both parties. It is unclear now whether lawmakers can spark another reform effort more than a year after a national reckoning over police killings of

Talks of bipartisan police reform legislation in Congress are officially over as Republicans and Democrats can't agree on key issues.

Democrats, after more than a year of negotiations, made a final offer, but despite "significant strides," said Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., there weren't any more concessions to be made.

"I just want to make it clear that this is not an end -- the efforts to create substantive policing reform will continue," Booker told reporters at the Capitol.

"It is a disappointment that we are at this moment," Booker continued, adding that having participation from nation's largest police union and the International Association of Chiefs of Police shows that "this is a bigger movement than where we were just a year or two ago."

Former officers involved in George Floyd's death plead not guilty

  Former officers involved in George Floyd's death plead not guilty Four ex-officers involved in George Floyd's death, including Derek Chauvin, have been charged for violating Floyd's constitutional rights. Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao have been charged with violating Floyd’s constitutional rights in ways that “resulted in bodily injury to, and the death of, George Floyd,” according to the federal grand jury indictment.

What’ s more , there are green shoots of bipartisanship for some policing reforms , such as weakening the legal shield that protects police accused of misconduct and curtailing transfers of excess military equipment to local police forces. The news media have increasingly covered episodes of police misconduct in recent years . But even intense media focus — and public interest — inevitably fades. Decades ago, economist Anthony Downs called this the “ issue attention cycle ”: A startling event — like police killing Michael Brown, Eric Garner or George Floyd — provokes a surge in media attention

Philonise Floyd , brother of George Floyd , speaks as he and members of the Floyd family meet with Nancy Pelosi, second right, and Karen Bass, right, in May. Photograph: REX/Shutterstock. Joe Biden said he will consider “potential further executive actions” to address police reform after the bipartisan team Biden noted he still hoped to sign police reform legislation, but he said he would soon explore additional steps to determine what executive action he may be able to take on the issue. “In the coming weeks, we will continue to work with Senator Booker, Congresswoman Bass and other members of

A group of police officers walks along an empty street in downtown Minneapolis, Sept. 8, 2021. © Carlos Barria/Reuters A group of police officers walks along an empty street in downtown Minneapolis, Sept. 8, 2021.

Lead Republican negotiator Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said he's concerned about high crime rates in some cities.

"When you're talking about making progress in the bill, and your definition of progress is to make it punitive -- or take more money away from officers if they don't do what you want them to do -- that's defunding the police," Scott told ABC News. "I'm not going to be a part of defunding the police."

More than a year after the start of a racial reckoning in the United States, the movement to address brutality and racism in policing continues to dominate political discourse.

MORE: A year after George Floyd's death, America is still grappling with police violence and reform

George Floyd's death prompts reform

Bans on chokeholds for federal officers latest in nationwide push to hold police to a 'higher standard'

  Bans on chokeholds for federal officers latest in nationwide push to hold police to a 'higher standard' In the year and four months since George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, state and local governments across the country have ramped up efforts to hold officers accountable for misconduct and prevent incidents of police brutality against citizens. There is more scrutiny of police contracts, and state legislatures have pushed ahead with eliminating qualified immunity and have instituted changes to policies on no-knock warrants and chokeholds.

The guilty verdicts for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd felt like an important moment, creating momentum to change the way police interact with Black Americans.

After a Minneapolis jury found a white police officer who killed George Floyd guilty of murder in April, lawmakers in both parties had expressed cautious optimism that they could broker a deal. Lawmakers said they believed that the verdict would provide new momentum to reach a compromise. Civil rights leaders and policing reform advocates on Wednesday expressed their frustration that talks had broken down with no agreement, despite months of work. "In a year unlike any other, when the American people spoke up, marched, and demanded reforms in policing , law enforcement unions and partisan

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act was introduced in June 2020, very soon after Floyd, a Black man, was killed by then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin during an arrest. Floyd was accused of using a fake $20 bill at a local store.

Chauvin pinned Floyd on the ground, with his knee on the back of Floyd's neck and upper back until he went unconscious. Videos taken by bystanders sparked a national movement against police brutality and racism, and legislators, including Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, sought to answer calls for justice and end the current system of policing.

The Justice in Policing Act aimed to establish a national standard for policing practices, collect better data on police use of force and misconduct, ban the use of tactics such as no-knock warrants, and limit qualified immunity, which protects officers against private civil lawsuits.

Prosecutors Say Derek Chauvin Used Unreasonable Force 4 Times Before George Floyd's Death

  Prosecutors Say Derek Chauvin Used Unreasonable Force 4 Times Before George Floyd's Death Chauvin went "beyond the point when such force was needed under the circumstances" during four instances dating to 2014, prosecutors said.In court filings in the case alleging Chauvin violated the civil rights of the teenager, prosecutors said that Chauvin used neck or head and upper body restraints seven times prior to Floyd's death, dating to 2014, the Associated Press reported.

MSNBC's Craig Melvin is joined by George Floyd ' s cousin and president of the George Floyd Foundation to discuss the collapse of bipartisan police reform negotiations.

MSNBC's Craig Melvin is joined by George Floyd ' s cousin and president of the George Floyd Foundation to discuss the collapse of bipartisan police reform negotiations.

Sen. Tim Scott speaks to reporters after a vote at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Sept. 22, 2021. © Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times via Redux Sen. Tim Scott speaks to reporters after a vote at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Sept. 22, 2021.

It passed the House in March on a party-line vote, but the Republican-majority Senate didn't move it forward. The legislation was reintroduced in 2021.

Senate Republicans also proposed a reform bill in June 2020, but Democrats blocked it, saying it didn't do enough.

The Justice Act proposed using federal dollars to incentivize police departments to ban controversial practices, like the chokehold that killed Floyd, make lynching a federal hate crime, increase training and enforce the use of body cameras. The effectiveness of no-knock warrants also was to be studied.

  More than a year after George Floyd's killing, Congress can't agree on police reform © Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Shutterstock MORE: 'Time is running out' on police reform negotiations: Sen. Cory Booker

Democrats and Republicans agree on 'framework'

In summer 2021, both sides settled on a shared "framework" from which to pursue legislation.

"After months of working in good faith, we have reached an agreement on a framework addressing the major issues for bipartisan police reform," Scott, Booker and Bass said in a joint statement. "There is still more work to be done on the final bill, and nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. Over the next few weeks we look forward to continuing our work toward getting a finalized proposal across the finish line."

Chauvin to appeal conviction, sentence in Floyd's death

  Chauvin to appeal conviction, sentence in Floyd's death MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murder in George Floyd’s death intends to appeal his conviction and sentence, saying the judge abused his discretion or erred during several key points in the case, according to documents filed Thursday. Derek Chauvin said he intends to appeal on 14 grounds. Among them, he claims Judge Peter Cahill abused his discretion when he denied Chauvin’s request to move the trial out of Hennepin County due to pretrial publicity.

Many Republicans said they believed the proposed legislation put law enforcement under attack, while most Democrats held firm in holding accountable officers accused of abusing suspects.

Qualified immunity

Both sides still agreed to pursue change, but qualified immunity quickly became a sticking point for Republicans, and it ultimately led to the legislation's demise.

Qualified immunity protects officers in cases where they've been individually accused of violating a person's civil rights.

Some congressional Republicans said they feared a rise in frivolous lawsuits if qualified immunity were to be eradicated, but officers still would've had the same constitutional protections, and civil cases still would've been reviewed by courts before moving forward.

Sources told ABC News that Scott would get on board with a proposal if police unions could agree on a plan, but they've been very reluctant to do so.

Cory Booker et al. sitting at a table: Sen. Cory Booker speaks with members of the press at the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 22, 2021, in Washington, D.C. © Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Shutterstock Sen. Cory Booker speaks with members of the press at the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 22, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

Two police unions, the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police, were involved in negotiations with legislators. Though they came close to an agreement with Booker, other police unions such as the National Association of Police Organization, spoke out against Booker's proposals because they weren't included in earlier discussions.

State AGs are 'stepping into the police reform business' to hold officers accountable

  State AGs are 'stepping into the police reform business' to hold officers accountable In the past month, attorneys general in three states have sought a court-ordered overhaul of local police departments, increasingly filling the role the federal government has played for decades of holding accountable police departments that are deemed to be behaving badly. © CQ Roll Call/Sipa/AP/Bloomberg/Getty Images Attorneys General Kwame Raoul of Illinois, left, Phil Weiser of Colorado and Rob Bonta of California used their authority to investigate local police departments.

Now, it's back to square one. Booker said he and Congressional Democrats will find other pathways to achieving extensive police reform , but those pathways likely won't include Republican colleagues.

Vice President Kamala Harris, who was in the Senate at the start of these negotiations, denounced Republican efforts to quash reform.

MORE: Biden confronts diminishing sway as deadlines near: The Note

"We learned that Senate Republicans chose to reject even the most modest reforms. Their refusal to act is unconscionable," Harris said in a statement. "Millions of people marched in the streets to see reform and accountability, not further inaction. Moving forward, we are committed to exploring every available action at the executive level to advance the cause of justice in our nation."

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden was disappointed.

"In the coming weeks," she said, "our team will consult with members of Congress, the law enforcement, civil rights communities and victims families to discuss a path forward, including potential executive actions the president can take to ensure we live up to the American ideal of equality and justice under law."

ABC News Rachel Scott and Ben Gittleson contributed to this report.

What the Media Gets Wrong About Last Year’s Uptick In Murders .
Many factors contributed to the increase, but protests over police violence aren't among them.There’s a name for this line of thinking: The Ferguson effect. It’s a criminological theory with a nasty half-life. After Michael Brown was killed by the Ferguson Police Department in 2014, law enforcement and criminologists falsely claimed that homicide rate increases could be attributed to police withdrawing from their duties after receiving public criticism and policy pushback for their brutal violence. Years after the theory was debunked, the idea persists under different names: “de-policing” or “police pullback.

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