The killing of George Floyd in May last year sparked an inflamed debate of much-needed police reforms in the United States once again.
The protests that followed after the brutal murder video went viral demanded stringent actions against police officials while at the same time asked for curtailing the authorities of men in uniform.
This resulted in passing the landmark legislation of “George Floyd Justice in Police Act” from the Democrat-dominated House, but it failed to get traction in the Senate amid Donald Trump’s threat to veto the bill.
This stalled the bill as Democrats were unable to pass it through the Republican-dominated Senate. However, by capturing both the chambers of Congress now, Democrats are eyeing to pass the bill once again.
As Rep. Karen Bass and Rep. Jerry Nadler reintroduced the bill in the House, soon it will become legislation. Once passed, it will change the concept of police nationwide to a great extent.
Why are the reforms in the policing sector necessary, and how will they impact the role of police officers in the United States? Let’s see.
End of Choke Hold and No-Knock Warrants: A Sigh of Relief for Endangered Justice
The George Floyd Justice in Police Act intends to end the concept of chokeholds in the United States, a practice which police officers used frequently.
The death of George Floyd was also the consequence of one of these chokeholds, which could be seen clearly in the viral video.
As George Floyd muttered, “I can’t breathe,” he spent his last minutes under the chokehold, which ultimately caused his death.
Passing this bill will end this practice in the United States, which would ultimately curtail the powers of the police officers who were allowed to do this earlier.
Not only this, but the act will also end the criterion of no-knock warrants in the United States. Recently, the Kentucky Senate passed the bill in the state amid the rising voices against this practice.
The demands to restrict the police officers from no-knock entry were also raised after the murder of Breonna Taylor, another Black American who was shot to death in March 2020 in a no-knock warrant entry episode.
The exclusion of both of these powers will not only respect the privacy of the people but also give them enough time to offer their clearances to the police officers. It will also allow the accused individuals not to get punishment before the court rulings.
George Floyd Justice in Police Act: An End to Systematic Racism
The proposed bill will end the profiling on the ascribed status of Americans, as Black Americans remain much more vulnerable to police brutality compared to their white compatriots.
Police officers will no longer be able to screen people based on their caste, creed, religion, or color, which will ease the current situation.
Currently, Black Americans are more prone to land in jail once arrested, so that the police reforms will pave the way for them for a more integrated life.
Police officers will be bound to wear body cameras, which they will receive from federal funding. It will record all the events that will ease the proceedings of courts in case of any mishap.
This way, police officers will become more rational in their approach, considering that they are being watched all the time.
This will also prohibit them from taking illegal actions and abusing their powers, a charge they often face in their duties.
National Police Misconduct Registry: An End to Dishonest Officers
The George Floyd Justice in Police Act will establish the National Police Misconduct registry, which will keep the record of all the misconduct behaviors of police.
It will also maintain a database of terminated police officers that will bar them from applying to other police departments after the termination for misconduct.
Consider the example of George Floyd’s murder, for instance. Had there been no video of the incident, nobody could have known about the police officers involved in the incident.
Even if they were fired, they could have applied to other police departments, wearing the uniform once again and putting the lives of others in danger.
Once the misconducted or corrupt police officers are mentioned in the proposed registry, their data will be cross-checked before hiring into another police department, which will push the violent officers into a dead-end tunnel.
The civil rights watchdogs have called for the necessity of this act again and again amid the rising infidelity of the police officers.
Democrats won the swing states by a small margin, mostly due to the huge turnout of people of color. The ignorance of Donald Trump towards the Black community despite the video proofs was enough to turn the community against him in the general election.
The pursuit of white supremacy by Donald Trump by sponsoring violent groups was one of the reasons for his downfall. So, all eyes were on the Democrats for enacting legislation in favor of people of color.
The introduction of the George Floyd Justice in Police Act is a commendable step in the right direction by the Democrats.
The Republicans have already defamed Democrats accusing them of defunding the police, and they can once again start their propaganda.
Democrats must make the counter-narrative against any effort of the Republicans to win the public trust in these all-important police reforms.
Republicans can also try to delay the legislation in the Senate considering their vested interests in the powerful and the hegemonic police.
For this, Democrats must lobby to get enough votes from the Senate to get the legislation passed as soon as possible.