WASHINGTON -- Yesterday, two years after the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, President Joe Biden signed an executive order addressing police accountability and public trust. The Congressional Progressive Caucus’s Policing, Constitution, and Equality Task Force praised the decision after police reform passed by the House in 2021 stalled in the Senate.
“Two years after George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police, Black people are still waiting for justice. Americans all over the country have raised their voices in calling for police reform, yet little progress has been made. In fact, police killings increased in the year following the murder of Mr. Floyd, and a disproportionate number of the victims were Black,” said Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) Chair of the Policing, Constitution, and Equality Task Force. “I thank President Biden for issuing an executive order on police reform, which will start holding federal law enforcement officers accountable for their actions. This is a historic step in the right direction, but it is not the end. We must ensure that Black lives matter not just to civil rights advocates, but to our nation’s most powerful institutions. I’m honored to launch the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ new Policing, Constitution, and Equality Task Force, which will provide policy suggestions for building a justice system that prioritizes the safety of all Americans.”
“I applaud President Biden for his bold action. As one of the leading voices in Congress against police militarization, I’m pleased to see that many of the recommendations in the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act – a bill I've introduced every Congress since 2014 – are a part of the President’s executive order, including banning the transfer of certain military-grade equipment,” said Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04). “The time is long overdue to deliver the urgent, critical reforms needed to address systemic racism while increasing transparency and holding police accountable, and this executive order does just that. I’m going to continue fighting to see these and other ideas are passed into law and made permanent. I appreciate the President’s leadership on this issue and look forward to working with my colleagues to rein in the Pentagon’s weapons pipeline—we must remember that military equipment fundamentally changes the relationship between police and the communities they serve.”
“I commend President Biden for taking this bold action to demilitarize police forces across the country. This executive order is a vital first step to protect the health and safety of our most marginalized communities, and working to reform our nation’s broken criminal legal system,” said Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-NY). “We made a promise to the American people that we would address systemic racism in this country head on, while ensuring that these systems become more transparent and accountable in the process. Today’s announcement is a welcome step in that direction. I look forward to continuing my work here in Congress to enshrine these reforms into law, to deliver true public safety for those we swore an oath to protect.”
The executive order creates an accountability database of officers fired for misconduct, ensures timely and thorough investigations after the use of deadly force or deaths in police custody, places restrictions on the transfer of military equipment to local police departments, institutes a ban on chokeholds, and adds restrictions on no knock warrants at the federal level.