It is expected that the president biden issue an executive order Wednesday aimed at reforming the federal police on the second anniversary of the death of george floydwho died after a Minneapolis police officer handcuffed him and pinned him to the ground.
The motion is expected to direct all federal agencies to review their use-of-force policies, create a national registry of officers fired for misconductuse the grants to encourage local and state police to tighten restrictions on chokeholds and walk-ins and restrict the transfer of most military equipment to law enforcement, said the people close who requested anonymity.
The White House and the Justice Department have been working on the order since last year, when efforts to achieve a bipartisan compromise on a national police reform They failed in the Senate. Biden’s executive order is expected to be narrower than that bill, a sign of the balancing act the president is trying to navigate on criminal justice.
While the death of George Floyd and the national protest movement it inspired helped dramatically change public opinion on racial and policing issues in the summer of 2020, Republicans have also launched political attacks that portray Democrats as enemies of law enforcement. the law.
How will they take Biden’s proposal after the murder of George Floyd?
The order is unlikely to please either side entirely: Many progressive activists still want stricter limits and accountability measures for the police, even as the increase in violent crime in some cities it has become a Republican line of attack ahead of the midterm elections.
But officials believe the order, the final text of which has been kept secret after an earlier draft was leaked earlier this year, will gain some support from activists and police alike.
Biden plans to sign the new executive order, along with family members of Floyd and police officers, in what is expected to be one of his first official acts after he returns from a diplomatic trip to South Korea and Japan this week.
Law enforcement groups had been particularly annoyed by several items in the previous 18-page draft order when it was made public in January, prompting them to complain that the White House had given them only a perfunctory opportunity to provide input. They threatened to withdraw their support, prompting a major reset in the process by the White House domestic policy council, led by Susan Rice.
Authorities work to avoid repeating Floyd case
In the months since then, the White House has worked more closely with police and Justice Department officials who have greater experience navigating the line between police reform and the functioning of law enforcement agencies, since that the administration has elevated a more centrist position on criminal justice.
“The White House made a significant outreach to us and tried to listen to our concerns,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a bipartisan think tank that focuses on policing practices.
“This final executive order is substantially different from the original version, and that has made a huge difference for many of us in law enforcement.”
Biden has repeatedly emphasized a message of investing in the police, rather than defunding them, entering a national debate over whether the government should give police departments more resources or spend the money on mental health care and other social services.
One of the changes reflected in the executive order, according to people familiar with the final version, focused on what it would say about standards for the use of force.
The administration removed language that would have allowed federal law enforcement officers to use deadly force only “as a last resort when there is no reasonable alternative, in other words, only when necessary to prevent imminent and serious bodily injury or death.” The previous version would have also encouraged state and local police to adopt the same standard using federal discretionary grants.
Law enforcement officials complained that the standard would allow question in retrospect the decisions of the agents under compelling circumstances. Instead, the final order refers to a Justice Department policy issued this week that says officers may shoot suspects when they have “a reasonable belief that the subject of such force represents a imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to someone else. ”
Jim Pasco, the executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, said he thought the new use-of-force language would “bring more clarity and better guidance to officers,” but without causing them to become as risk-averse. stop protecting themselves. and others when necessary.
“It’s not a question of more or less strict,” Mr. Pasco said. “It is a matter of framing better. And a better constructed definition of the use of force.”
He added: “It’s not a radical change.”
Udi Ofer, deputy national political director for the American Civil Liberties Union, offered cautious support for the Justice Department’s policy, saying much would depend on how it was carried out.
“The correct implementation of this standard will be critical to its success,” he said. “We have seen jurisdictions with strict standards where officers still resort to the use of deadly force, so having these words on paper will not be enough. The entire culture and mindset must change to bring these words to life and save lives.”
The administration will also include guidance on detecting inherent biases among bases, including those that potentially harbor views. white supremacistsaccording to people familiar with the matter.
Some provisions of the order would build on previous Justice Department efforts, including requiring federal law enforcement officers to wear body cameras. The order would also direct the government to expand data collection, including use-of-force incidents across the country, and seek to standardize and improve accreditation of law enforcement agencies.
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