President Biden signed an executive order aimed at reforming federal police practices two years to the day since George Floyd was murdered at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, CBS News reports.
The executive order had been worked on for months with the Biden administration consulting policing groups, civil rights organizations, and lawyers like Ben Crump, who represented the Floyd family after police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd. All provisions will apply to 100,000 federal law enforcement officers.
“This executive order is going to deliver the most significant police reform in decades. It applies directly, under law, to only 100,000 federal law enforcement officers, all the federal law enforcement officers. And through federal incentives and best practices that are attached to it, we expect the order to have significant impact on state and local law enforcement agencies as well,” he said.
Biden stated he hadn’t signed the executive order earlier in his presidency because he did not want to undercut negotiations in Congress to pass police reform legislation. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed in the House of March 2021 last year, but a bipartisan coalition failed to agree to get the bill through the Senate. Biden noted Senate Republican opposition has slowed down any progress in comprehensive police reform and that the executive order “reflects inputs from a broad coalition represented here today,” including several law enforcement organizations.
“I know progress can be slow and frustrating and there’s a concern that the reckoning on race inspired two years ago is beginning to fade,” Mr. Biden said. “But acting today, we’re showing what our dear friend, the late John Lewis, congressman, wrote in his final words after his final march for justice in July 2020 — he said, ‘Democracy is not a state. It is an act.’”
Some of the measures the executive order establishes are as follows:
- Creating a national registry of officers containing records of federal officer misconduct, including convictions, terminations, de-certifications, civil judgments, resignations, and retirements while under investigation for serious misconduct.
- Requiring all federal law enforcement agencies to revise use-of-force policies, banning chokeholds, and restricting the use of no-knock warrants.
- Mandates the use of body cameras by federal agents
- Stipulates that specific federal grants for state and local police departments will be contingent on having proper accreditations in place
NAACP President Derrick Johnson welcomed the executive order and said there was no better way to honor Floyd’s legacy. “We know full well that an executive order cannot address America’s policing crisis the same way Congress has the ability to, but we’ve got to do everything we can,” he said in a statement.