Since George Floyd’s murder in 2020, federal lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have proposed legislation to address police behavior, but all have failed so far, reports Capital B. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), proposed the Eric Garner Excessive Use of Force Prevention Act in 2019 to make constricting a person’s airway a civil rights offense. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) promoted the use of de-escalation techniques with the Preventing Tragedies Between Police and Communities Act. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act from Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) offered sweeping changes to officer accountability and limitations on use of force. In response, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) proposed the JUSTICE (Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere) Act, which would reform police hiring practices and fund training to end chokeholds.
“I’m astounded at how quickly we went from, after [Floyd’s] murder, a recognition that we need to fundamentally think about policing differently, we need to fundamentally think about the system more broadly,” said Jamila Hodge of Equal Justice USA. “We’re not at two years [since Floyd’s death], and it’s like it never happened.” Strategists say there is hope for meaningful federal police reform after the midterm elections. Federal police reform has fallen victim to political polarization, concerns over rising crime, and disagreement over how to address qualified immunity that protects police from legal accountability. Federal police reform is competing against reports of rising crime nationwide, says former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, adding that rising crime "just flipped a lot of people out – Black, white, purple, whatever – and the immediate response in a moment of danger or fear is to retreat to what you know." he said. President Biden has planned a broad executive order on policing that wouldn’t require congressional cooperation. After a draft
leaked in January, Republicans painted it as an effort to “defund the police” and law enforcement groups were troubled. The policing order, which was slated for release during February’s Black History Month, has yet to come, The Marshall Project reports.