On the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder by former police officer Derek Chauvin, his family will be traveling to Washington D.C. for a special meeting with President Biden, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other top congressional leaders.
Emma Newburger of CNBC has reported that “the Floyd family’s visit to the nation’s capital comes as lawmakers attempt to create bipartisan legislation on police reform that could pass through both chambers of Congress.”
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which seeks to ban chokeholds, carotid holds and no-knock warrants, as well as end qualified immunity for police officers, was passed by the House in March 2021. However, lawmakers in the Senate have not taken up the police reform measure because Democrats don’t have enough votes to pass it on their own and a compromise on the bill’s language to bring in Republican support has yet to be reached.
“Congress is set to miss the president’s deadline to pass the legislation by the anniversary of Floyd’s death,” Newburger reported. “At least 10 Senate Republicans are needed for the bill’s passage due to the chamber’s filibuster rule.”
In her briefing with the media last week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would be a crucial first step in helping to bring the country closer together and repairing past divisions.
“It would be a contribution to rebuilding trust in communities,” Psaki said. “Obviously, there’s more that needs to be done beyond that; that’s not the only step — far from it.”
The biggest hurdle in the bill’s passage continues to be the concept of “qualified immunity,” which makes it harder for members of the public to sue individual police officers.
“Ten House Democrats are pushing congressional leaders not to scrap the provision seeking to end qualified immunity,” Newburger said. “But some GOP senators are concerned that ending it would make officers and departments vulnerable to a rash of lawsuits.”