Biden to order federal policing reforms on 2nd anniversary of George Floyd’s death

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Biden to order federal policing reforms on 2nd anniversary of George Floyd's death

The George Floyd memorial site is seen on April 2 at the corner of Chicago Avenue and 38th Street in Minneapolis, Minn. Floyd was killed on May 25, 2020, during an arrest in which an officer kneeled on the back of his neck for close to 10 minutes. File Photo by Aaron Joseczfyk/UPI | License Photo

On Wednesday, which is the second anniversary of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, President Joe Biden will sign an executive order that aims for policing reforms regarding racism and excessive use of force.

The White House said that the president will sign the order on Wednesday afternoon. It released a fact sheet earlier that outlines the intent of the new order.

“Two years ago, the murder of George Floyd exposed for many what Black and Brown communities have long known and experienced — that we must do more to ensure that our nation lives up to its founding promise of fair and impartial justice for all,” the White House said in a statement.

“The incident sparked one of the largest social movements this country has ever seen, with calls from all corners to acknowledge the legacy of systemic racism in our criminal justice system and in our institutions more broadly.”

Floyd’s death, during an arrest by several Minneapolis police officers, set off a wave of protests nationwide calling for civil rights and action to end police brutality. Video of Floyd’s arrest — during which Floyd repeatedly tells the officers that he can’t breathe — fueled angry demonstrations that reached overseas and led to calls from some to “defund the police.”

Biden’s order on Wednesday aims to strike a balance between what civil rights activists are calling for and the need for community policing.

Biden to order federal policing reforms on 2nd anniversary of George Floyd's death

Then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks via video link at the funeral service for George Floyd at The Fountain of Praise church in Houston, Texas, on June 9, 2020. File Photo by David J. Phillip/UPI

Biden’s executive order will create a database for claims of police misconduct, strengthen investigations into police brutality, mandate body cameras, ban police-applied chokeholds and no-knock warrants and require de-escalation techniques for federal agents. It also calls for “reimagining” crisis response and prioritizing “officer wellness” training.

The order, however, will mostly apply only to law enforcement officers at the federal level — as they are the only ones under the purview of the president’s executive authority.

“Police cannot fulfill their role to keep communities safe without public trust and confidence in law enforcement and the criminal justice system,” the White House added. “Yet, there are places in America today where the bonds of trust are frayed or broken.

“To heal as a nation, we must acknowledge that fatal encounters with law enforcement have disproportionately involved Black and Brown people.”

On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered that the FBI and other federal law enforcement officers under the Justice Department must intervene if they witness illegal use of force by other officers.

Garland’s order originated from rank-and-file agents with the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Marshals Service and Bureau of Prisons about what agents should do when they witness excessive force.

“President Biden’s [order] will enhance public trust by promoting accountability, transparency, and the principles of equality and dignity in policing and the larger criminal justice system,” the White House added on Wednesday.

“Increased trust makes policing more effective and thereby strengthens public safety. Without that trust, victims do not call for help.”

Biden is scheduled to sign the order in the East Room of the White House at 4 p.m. EDT Wednesday. Vice President Kamala Harris will attend the ceremony on “public trust and safety.”

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