Republicans, Democrats unable to reach agreement on bill to revise police tactics following protests against murder of black Americans


News of the talks’ failure was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Republicans and Democrats were eager to finalize bipartisan legislation after a nationwide outcry over brutal police tactics. President Biden had urged lawmakers to act. But negotiators failed to overcome the iconic deep divisions in Congress.

According to Booker, the Democrats’ final offer completely omitted any changes to qualified immunity or section 242 of the Civil Rights Act, which could lead officers to face increased accountability in court.

In remarks to reporters at the United States Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, Booker said he had had a brief conversation with Scott and that the group had not made “significant progress in implementing any real reform. substantial “.

“When it comes to issues like raising professional standards, we couldn’t even agree to codify what Donald Trump did in his executive order,” Booker said, referring to the measures announced by the former president l last summer to offer new federal incentives for local police to strengthen training and create a national database to track misconduct.

In a statement, Bass said Democrats had “made some important compromises, knowing they would be hard to sell to our community, but still believing that we would put the needle on this issue.”

“But each time more was asked to the point that there would be no progress on the bill we were discussing,” Bass said.

She added that there remained a “sense of urgency” among Democrats on the issue, and she called on Biden and the White House to “use the full extent of their constitutionally mandated power to carry out reform of the police”.

Scott blamed the Democrats, saying their drive to “define” the application of the law made it impossible to agree on legislation. Biden and other congressional leaders rejected the notion of “funding the police.”

“After months of progress, I am deeply disappointed that Democrats have again wasted a crucial opportunity to implement meaningful reform to make our neighborhoods safer and repair the tenuous relationship between law enforcement and communities in color, “Scott said in a statement. . “Crime will continue to increase as security decreases, and more and more officers will leave the force because my negotiating partners have walked away from the table. “

Negotiations began following the murder of George Floyd last year by former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, a videotaped murder that sparked nationwide protests against systemic racism and brutality policewoman.

Throughout the talks, Democrats had made eliminating – or at least relaxing – the doctrine of qualified immunity a cornerstone of their overhaul efforts. By and large, Republicans had resisted any change, fearing that exposing police to legal action would lead them to adopt less aggressive and less effective tactics.

On Wednesday, Booker said it was not only “clear” that negotiators had stopped moving forward, but recent communications “showed me that we were moving away.”

The frustration was great. . . . I’m not sure if there is something that I have spent more hours on in such an intense time frame and to get these highs, where you get police chiefs that you never thought of [would] come on board on the big problems, and then we couldn’t even get a lot of other problems, ”Booker said.

Booker said he told Scott in a brief conversation on Wednesday that negotiations would come to an end, and he said he spoke to Ben Jealous, a lawyer representing some of the families of victims of police violence, about the next steps. He vowed that he would not give up the push for reform even if the bipartisan negotiation reached an impasse.

“Nothing is finished yet,” he said.

Booker also said he was encouraged by the support his efforts have garnered from police groups, including the National Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. But in the end, he said, his Republican counterparts would disagree on even relatively minor provisions of the bill, such as data collection.

Police reform advocates expressed dismay at the news and said the issue remained a top priority.

“In a year unlike any other, when the American people spoke up, marched and demanded police reforms, law enforcement unions and partisan politicians chose to stand on the wrong side. of history, ”NAACP Chairman Derrick Johnson said in a statement. . “They have chosen to stand with those who lynched the very people they are meant to protect and serve.”

The White House said it was also disappointed and was exploring the possibility of Biden taking executive action on the matter.


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