The Biden administration has put the plan to create a national police oversight board on hold indefinitely, and will instead back a new controversial police reform bill. Biden does this even after making it a campaign promise to establish a police oversight commission within the first 100 days of taking office.
According to Politico, Biden will be putting the plan “on ice” at the behest of both civil rights activists and police union officials.
“Based on close, respectful consultation with partners in the civil rights community, the administration made the considered judgment that a police commission, at this time, would not be the most effective way to deliver on our top priority in this area, which is to sign the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act into law,” Susan Rice, senior domestic policy advisor, told the outlet in a statement.
“Before coming to the decision, the White House said it consulted with national civil rights organizations and police unions,” Politico commented. “Both entities made clear to the administration that they thought a commission was not necessary and likely redundant.”
As a result, Biden’s Administration will throw its support behind the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is a House bill that has outlined a number of changes to the national police policies and has not earned support from most Republicans in the house.
“The lengthy bill aims to end qualified immunity, which gives government officials broad protections from lawsuits, such as police brutality cases,” as reported by PBS. “It would also lower the legal standard required to convict an officer for misconduct, establish a national database to track police misconduct, and provide grants to help states conduct investigations into alleged constitutional abuses by law enforcement.”
The House bill demands, according to the text, that all state and federal law enforcement officers are required to be equipped with body cameras and all police vehicles are outfitted with dashboard cameras, restricts the transfer of decommissioned military items to local police, and makes the demand that state and local law enforcement adopt mandatory anti-discrimination training.
The bill, also, places largely restrict the use of chokehold, prohibits the use of no-knock warrants, and moves the thresholds for both the use of physical force and deadly force. These provisions are seen by some experts at PBS to make policing far more dangerous.
As a result, Republicans largely oppose the bill.
“The Democrats’ bill, known as the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, passed in the House 220-212, with a vote from just one Republican. The same bill was introduced and passed in the House last summer, but died in the then-Republican-controlled Senate,” PBS stated.
The policy swap from Biden comes just as debates about the use of force by the police have been sparked once again by new officer-involved shootings near Minneapolis, Minnesota, and in Chicago, Illinois — both of which have prompted protests.
On the campaign trail, President Biden promised a national police oversight program, telling supports that “we need each and every police department in the country to undertake a comprehensive review of their hiring, their training, and their de-escalation practices,” and then pledging to support any changes with federal funds.