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Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP
Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP

House of Representatives passes George Floyd Police Reform Bill

The passage comes after House Democrats rejected debating the Republican Justice Act earlier in the week.

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House Democrats on June 24 did what they promised: to set a bill calling for police reform. The Dems said this moment is a historic victory after decades of police brutality, unnoticed misconduct, and systemic racism.

The bill passed 236-181, with three people from the Republican party also voting in favor of the legislation. Even so, the bill is not expected to be taken up by the Senate.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act enforces constitutional violations like excessive use of force by state and local law enforcement. Additionally, it aims to lower the criminal intent standard, convicting police for misconduct in a federal prosecution. It limits qualified immunity as a defense liability in a private civil action against a law enforcement officer or state correctional officer. Finally, it authorizes the Department of Justice to issue subpoenas for investigations around police departments in regards to their discrimination patterns or practices. 

The Act also creates the National Police Misconduct Registry, which will compile data on complaints and records of police misconduct.

This move by House Democrats comes after weeks of protests,calls for police reform, and the civil unrest that we have not only seen across the country, but globally. Unfortunately, finding common ground on the issue at hand has led to a deep divide in Washington.

However, the prospect of the legislation seems like it will be stalled because the Democrats made the bill without input from the GOP, while also rejecting the opportunity to debate the Republican Party’s own proposal introduced in the Senate. 

The divide could cause the meaningful legislation to be pushed back until after the election in November.

"Today, with the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the House is honoring his life and the lives of all killed by police brutality, and pledging: never again," said House speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Though the George Floyd Justice in policing Act is a positive answer to the weeks of civil unrest, protests, and national outcries for reform, it will mean nothing if Democrats and Republicans can’t put aside their ideological differences.

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