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Biden signs police warrant on anniversary of Floyd’s death

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed an executive order to improve police accountability — a sensible but limited measure for the second anniversary of George Floyd’s death reflecting the challenges of addressing racism, excessive use of force and public safety when Congress is deadlocked on tougher measures.

The event, marked by one tragedy, happened a day after a second, a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school that killed 19 children and two teachers. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris made remarks attempting to comfort those affected by the shooting as well as those who had suffered from police brutality, promising them that despite the partisan divisions on Capitol Hill, things may eventually change .

“I know progress can be slow and frustrating,” Biden said. “Today we play. We show that it is important to express yourself. Being engaged is important. That the work of our time to heal the soul of this nation is ongoing and unfinished and requires all of us never to give up.”

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Floyd’s family was in the White House audience as the President declared that “what we do in their memory matters.” With lawmakers unable to agree on how to reform police policies or reduce mass shootings, the president has limited ability to follow through on his campaign promises. And as he tries to build consensus, Biden is also trying to strike a balance between police and civil rights groups at a time when rising crime concerns are eclipsing calls for reform.

Most of Biden’s orders focus on federal law enforcement agencies — for example, by requiring them to review and revise use-of-force policies. It will also create a database to track official misconduct, according to the White House.

Though the administration can’t require local police departments to participate in the database designed to prevent problem officers from hopping from job to job, officers are looking at ways to use federal funds to encourage their collaboration.

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In addition, the order aims to restrict the flow of surplus military equipment to local police forces.

Many organizations and lawmakers said the order was an important but incomplete step forward.

“While this action is not having the long-term impact we hoped for,” Floyd family attorney Ben Crump said in a statement, “it represents incremental progress and we must commit to making progress every day.” .”

The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Fraternal Order of Police both worked with the Biden administration. They said they see “many components of the Order as a blueprint for future Congressional action.”

But not everyone was satisfied.

“President Biden’s executive order is a poor excuse for the public safety transformation he promised to the black voters who put him in office,” civil rights group Movement for Black Lives said in a statement.

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Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police sparked nationwide protests two years ago. It was the largest series of demonstrations in American history to take place in the United States in the middle of the Corona lockdown and President Donald Trump’s divisive re-election campaign.

However, turning the initial outcry into political change has proved difficult.

Last year, Biden asked Congress to pass police reform legislation by the anniversary of his death.

guilty verdict was “not enough,” he said, and “we can’t stop here.”

However, no law was passedand bipartisan talks dragged on and later collapsed.

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The White House eventually decided to proceed with executive action rather than wait for Congress.

Senator Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat who helped lead the talks, said the order will improve transparency, accountability and policing standards. However, he noted that police need to make extra efforts to improve relationships with the people they are meant to protect and serve.

“Across the United States, there is a lack of trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities they are sworn to protect — particularly black and brown communities,” Booker said.

In September, the The Justice Department restricted the use of warrants by federal agents – allowing law enforcement officers to enter a home without announcing their presence – and updated their policy to prohibit agents from using chokeholds in most cases.

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But extending such rules to local police is more difficult, and White House officials have spent months negotiating with civil rights groups and police organizations.

The resulting set of guidelines is less comprehensive than initially envisaged, not to mention the one-year delay.

“We know very well that an executive order cannot address America’s policing crisis the way Congress can, but we must do what we can,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement.

The order goes beyond issues of misconduct and the use of force. It also assesses the impact of facial recognition software on civil liberties, looks at ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in federal correctional facilities, and proposes better ways to collect data on police practices.

Biden is only the youngest president to sign an executive order on police reform. His predecessor Trump signed a similar order aimed at curbing police brutality less than a month after Floyd’s death in 2020. It provided federal dollars to departments that met certain certification standards for the use of force. One of the elements of the order called for the establishment of a database to record terminations, criminal convictions and civil convictions against law enforcement officers for excessive use of force.

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Former President Barack Obama also tried to promote police reform through a task force he founded in 2014. One of the recommendations of this task force was to expand an already existing database of officers who had had their licenses revoked.

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Associated Press writer Fatima Hussein contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/05/25/biden-signs-policing-order-on-anniversary-of-floyds-death/ Biden signs police warrant on anniversary of Floyd’s death

Sarah Y. Kim

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