The bill, which would ban chokeholds and eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement, will now advance to the Senate. (Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Published: 2021-03-03 09:32 pm
House Approves Police Reform Bill Named After George Floyd

Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., lead author of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, speaks during an event on police reform last year at the U.S. Capitol.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

House lawmakers on Wednesday passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a police reform bill that would ban chokeholds and eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement. The 220-212 vote came nine months after Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was killed by Minneapolis police officers last spring.

The wide-ranging legislation would also ban no-knock warrants, mandate data collection on police encounters, prohibit racial and religious profiling and redirect funding to community-based policing programs.

"Never again should an unarmed individual be murdered or brutalized by someone who is supposed to serve and protect them," said Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., in a statement. "Never again should the world be subject to witnessing what we saw happen to George Floyd in the streets in Minnesota."

In debate on the House floor Wednesday evening before the vote, Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota said Minneapolis is still traumatized by Floyd's death. "Time and time again we have witnessed the people who are sworn to protect our communities abuse their power," she said.

Last year, the House passed a similar version of the bill, but it failed in the Republican-controlled Senate. This time around, Senate Democrats will have to sway at least 10 Republican members for the bill to succeed.

Republicans say the legislation goes too far and would prevent police from doing their jobs effectively. Republican Rep. Carlos Gimenez of Florida said on the House floor Wednesday that the bill would "weaken and possibly destroy our community's police forces."

Earlier this week, the Biden administration released a statement urging the House to vote in favor of the proposal.

"To make our communities safe, we must begin by rebuilding trust between law enforcement and the people they are entrusted to serve and protect," the statement said. "We cannot rebuild that trust if we do not hold police officers accountable for abuses of power and tackle systemic misconduct – and systemic racism – in police departments."

On Monday, President Biden also pushed for its passage on Twitter.

"Following Senate consideration, I hope to be able to sign into law a landmark police reform bill," he said.

The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged with killing Floyd, is scheduled to begin in Minneapolis on March 8. Chauvin, who was filmed kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes, faces second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.

Heavy security measures, including barricades and fencing around the courthouse, have been put in place ahead of the trial. And thousands of police officers and National Guard personnel are set to be present in Minneapolis next week.

The other officers involved in Floyd's killing will be tried at a separate hearing in August.

Read Full Story

New Global Coronavirus Death Forecast Is Chilling — And Controversial - 8 months ago
The forecast comes from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. But here's why some other disease specialists are highly skeptical.(Image credit: Sean McMinn/NPR)
Read More

A Grandson's Gift — A Spotlight — For His Grandfather's WWII Band - 1 month ago
The first time Jason Burt listened to his grandfather's World War II Army Air Force Band recordings after finding them in his attic, "it was like my own private concert with my grandpa." (Image credit: Angelee Arceo Photography)
Read More

Newly Discovered Orchid Species Dubbed 'Ugliest In The World' - 4 months ago
British researchers have discovered 156 new plants and fungi in 2020, including the brown, fleshy and slightly menacing looking flower.
Read More

Diehard Trump Supporters Gather In The Nation's Capital To Protest Election Results - 3 months ago
Thousands of people are gathering in downtown Washington, D.C., to reject the results of the Nov. 3 election. The president is expected to address them at 11 a.m. (Image credit: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
Read More