Congressional Negotiators Have Failed To Reach A Deal On Police Reform

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Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. have been leading bipartisan negotiations over policing reform for months. Those talks have now ended with no agreement.

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But the negotiators, which included Booker, Scott and Democratic Rep. Karen Bass of California, were unable to reach an agreement on a number of issues, including how to address the legal doctrine known as «qualified immunity,» which shields police officers from civil lawsuits.

Booker said that negotiators were able to pull off some «pretty big accomplishments,» but that it was «clear that we were not making the progress that we needed to make.»

«The effort from the very beginning was to get police reform that would raise professional standards, police reform that would create a lot more transparency and then police reform that would create accountability,» Booker said. «And we were not able to come to agreement on those three big areas.»

In a statement, Bass said that Democrats «accepted significant compromises, knowing that they would be a tough sell to our community,» but added that «every time, more was demanded to the point that there would be no progress made in the bill that we were left discussing.»

She said that policing overhaul legislation now requires a «re-engagement of the legislative process.»

Some Black Leaders Question Whether Biden Will Fulfill His Promises To Black Voters

Civil rights leaders and policing reform advocates on Wednesday expressed their frustration that talks had broken down with no agreement, despite months of work.

«In a year unlike any other, when the American people spoke up, marched, and demanded reforms in policing, law enforcement unions and partisan politicians chose to stand on the wrong side of history,» said Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP. «They have chosen to stand with those who have lynched the very people they are meant to protect and serve.»

Johnson called it «disheartening that there is a lack of courage and bravery to bring about true reform.»

The Rev. Al Sharpton called the lack of an agreement «appalling and unacceptable.»

«To have a weak bill would make a mockery of the murder of Floyd and those of us that fought for his family,» he added.

President Biden had initially called on lawmakers to reach a compromise by the first anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. But that May 25 deadline came and went without any breakthrough.

The House passed its own policing reform bill, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in February, with almost exclusively Democratic votes.

That legislation sought to prohibit racial profiling by police, ban the use of chokeholds and no-knock warrants, and make it easier for police officers to be criminally charged for civil rights violations, among other things. It also would have allowed victims of misconduct to sue officers. But that legislation faced steep Republican opposition in the Senate.

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