Lawmakers hoping to reach a bipartisan compromise on revamping America’s broken policing policies watched it all go the same route as the Fat Boys; despite best efforts, the talks ended with the same issues that have haunted these talks for more than a year.
In case you have been living in Florida, which is the same as living under a rock, Democrats and Tim Scott (yes, he’s the Black Republican from South Carolina) have been working to try and reach an acceptable compromise that might help police stop killing unarmed Black people. Sadly, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement even after someone pitched the idea of every Black person in America wearing a “Don’t shoot me I’m a white woman” shirt when they leave the house.
OK, fine. Here’s how the New York Times explains it:
The announcement by Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, Democrats’ lead emissary on the issue, acknowledged what had been apparent for months, as talks had fizzled with no sign of a breakthrough. It all but closed off the possibility that Congress would act on an issue that President Biden had promised to tackle, amid a groundswell of public support for addressing systemic racism in law enforcement.
A group of Republicans and Democrats began negotiating in April following the guilty verdict of a police officer in the George Floyd murder trial, hoping the ruling would provide momentum to break an impasse that had persisted since Mr. Floyd’s death in 2020. But for months preceding Wednesday’s announcement, negotiators had been unable to come to an agreement on a slew of issues, including whether to change criminal and civil penalties to make it easier to punish police officers for misconduct.
“We weren’t making any more meaningful progress on establishing really substantive reform for Americans’ policing,” Mr. Booker said at a news conference on Wednesday.
Scott, who had been negotiating on behalf of Republicans (and before you make that face, it had nothing to do with him being the lone Black Republican senator or that he was voted most likely to be stopped by Capitol Police when driving to work), had to admit that killing unarmed Black people was just “too wide a gulf” for Republicans to cross. OK, I highly doubt that Republicans want Black people to be shot...well, most of them. But seriously, how hard could reaching a compromise against the overpolicing of Black and brown communities be?
Of course, Scott blamed Democrats for the collapse, accusing them of letting their “misguided idea of perfect be the enemy of good, impactful legislation,” the Times reports.
Wait, I may have been on to something about the killing of unarmed Black folks, as a point of contention was apparently restrictions on deadly use of force, “the creation of a national database to track police misconduct and whether victims of misconduct could more easily sue officers or their departments in court,” the Times reports.
Why wouldn’t America want a database that tracks bad apples? Let me tell you: We wouldn’t have no more apples out this bitch.
And don’t get me started about police unions, aka the most powerful group of lobbyists in American history. Apparently Republicans didn’t want to cross the National Sheriffs’ Association, which annoyed the hell out of Booker, who reportedly made inroads with some of the biggest police unions in the country.
“The painful thing for me is we pulled off some pretty big accomplishments,” Booker said, the Times reports. “We got the F.O.P. and International Association of Chiefs of Police to agree on some pretty incredible things that would have improved the profession, that would have protected police officers.”
Biden—who should be focused on deferring the fuck out of these student loan payments that are coming up in January—noted that he still hoped “to sign into law a comprehensive and meaningful police reform bill that honors the name and memory of George Floyd.”
He added that his administration wanted to continue to work with Democrats “and other members of Congress who are serious about meaningful police reform,” the Times notes.