Republican Senators, led by Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), had a press conference today and announced their policing reform legislation. The bill spells out the Republican’s plan to reform policing in the country. Some of the main points include providing incentives to police agencies for barring choke-holds unless in a life-threatening situation, penalties for not using body cameras, recording requirements for use of force by police, as well as eliminating no-knock warrants.
Senator Scott said at the beginning of the conference “Too often we are having the discussion in this nation about are you supporting the law enforcement community or are you supporting communities of color? This is a false binary choice. The answer to the question of which side do you support it’s ‘I support America’.” He continued, “And if you support America you support restoring the confidence that communities of color have in institutions of America. If you support America that means you know that an overwhelming number of officers in this nation want to do their job and go home to their family. It is not a binary choice. This legislation encompasses that spirit. It speaks to the fact that we believe that the overwhelming number of officers in this nation are good people, working hard and trying to keep order in the communities. Communities of color and people like myself, I’ve told my story several times [I was] stopped 7 times in one year and I’ve been stopped this year for failing to use my signal earlier in my lane change so this issue continues.”
He added, “That is why it is important for us to say that ‘We hear you, We’re listening to your concerns’. The George Floyd incident certainly has accelerated this conversation and we find ourselves at a place with a package that I think speaks to the families that I spoke with yesterday who lost loved ones ‘We Hear You’. I think this package speaks very clearly to the young person whose concerned when he’s stopped by the law enforcement officers ‘We See You’.”
Senator Scott said the bill focuses on three areas: data collection, training and officer misconduct, and transparency.
Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wants to open up the debate on this bill next week on the Senate Floor. “It’s not about creating partisan differences, it’s about coming together and getting an outcome”. He added, “After we do two circuit judges that are queued up, we’re going to turn the Scott bill. I’m going to file cloture on the motion to proceed, and our Democratic friends if they want to make a law, and not just make a point, I hope they’ll join us in getting on the bill,” he said.
He later tweeted:
When Black Americans tell us they do not feel safe in their own communities, we need to listen. When citizens lack faith in our justice system, we need to respond. And when the equal protection of the law feels to some Americans like a contingency of demographics, we need to act.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) June 17, 2020
The President took to Twitter on June 14th two days before his Executive Order on police reform was signed, to denounce the Democrat plan to defund and abolish police departments across the country.
Many Democrats want to Defund and Abolish Police Departments. HOW CRAZY!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2020
The Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities reads in part: “As Americans, we believe that all persons are created equal and endowed with the inalienable rights to life and liberty. A fundamental purpose of government is to secure these inalienable rights. Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement officers place their lives at risk every day to ensure that these rights are preserved.” It continues “All Americans are entitled to live with the confidence that the law enforcement officers and agencies in their communities will live up to our Nation’s founding ideals and will protect the rights of all persons. Particularly in African-American communities, we must redouble our efforts as a Nation to swiftly address instances of misconduct.” You can read the full Executive Order here.
You can watch the full press conference from the Senate GOP police reform task force here on C-SPAN.