Statement By President Joe Biden On Police Reform Negotiations

The White House

The murder of George Floyd is a stain on the soul of America. It spurred the nation to collectively demand justice, and we will be remembered for how we responded to the call. That is why I strongly supported the House-passed George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and have long urged the Senate to join in passing meaningful police reform legislation that includes accountability when law enforcement officers violate their oaths. I am deeply grateful to Senator Cory Booker and Congresswoman Karen Bass for working tirelessly with the White House, the civil rights community, and leading law enforcement groups, and for their relentless efforts to negotiate a bipartisan bill in the Senate that is worthy of George Floyd’s legacy. Regrettably, Senate Republicans rejected enacting modest reforms, which even the previous president had supported, while refusing to take action on key issues that many in law enforcement were willing to address.

I still hope to sign into law a comprehensive and meaningful police reform bill that honors the name and memory of George Floyd, because we need legislation to ensure lasting and meaningful change. But this moment demands action, and we cannot allow those who stand in the way of progress to prevent us from answering the call. That is why my Administration has already taken important steps, with the Justice Department announcing new policies on chokeholds, no-knock warrants, and body cameras. In the coming weeks, we will continue to work with Senator Booker, Congresswoman Bass, and other members of Congress who are serious about meaningful police reform. The White House will continue to consult with the civil rights and law enforcement and civil rights communities, as well as victims’ families to define a path forward, including through potential further executive actions I can take to advance our efforts to live up to the American ideal of equal justice under law.

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