The House of Representatives has passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Lawmakers approved the police reform legislation in a 220-212 vote on Wednesday (March 3) and it will now move on to the Senate for another vote.
The act would ban police chokeholds and reform “qualified immunity” for officers, which would clear the way for investigations into allegations of police misconduct. The legislation also seeks to federally ban no-knock warrants in most cases, mandate data collection regarding police encounters, prevent racial and religious profiling and redirect some funds to community-based police programs.
“Never again should an unarmed individual be murdered or brutalized by someone who is supposed to serve and protect them,” California Rep. Karen Bass said in a statement. “Never again should the world be subject to witnessing what we saw happen to George Floyd in the streets in Minnesota.”
During Wednesday's debate, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar said the city of Minneapolis is still reeling from Floyd’s death.
“Time and time again we have witnessed the people who are sworn to protect our communities abuse their power,” she said on the House floor.
Last year, House lawmakers passed a similar police reform bill, but it was voted down in the Republican-majority Senate. In order for the bill to pass this time around, at least 10 Republican Senators would need to approve it.
On Wednesday, Republican Rep. Carlos Gimenez argued against the bill, saying it would “weaken and possibly destroy our community’s police forces.”
The Biden administration previously released a statement in favor of the act and urged House lawmakers to approve it.
“To make our communities safe, we must begin by rebuilding trust between law enforcement and the people they are entrusted to serve and protect,” the statement read. “We cannot rebuild that trust if we do not hold police officers accountable for abuses of power and tackle systemic misconduct – and systemic racism – in police departments.”
President Biden also pushed for the legislation in a tweet on Monday (March 1).
“Following Senate consideration, I hope to be able to sign into law a landmark police reform bill,” he wrote.
The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes, is scheduled to begin next Monday (March 8). City officials have prepared for the trial and its outcome with increased security measures, including installing barricades around the courthouse. National Guardsmen and additional police officers are also set to be deployed in Minneapolis next week.
As reported by REVOLT, only one member of Floyd and Chauvin’s families will be allowed in the courthouse. The trials for the remaining three officers involved in Floyd’s death are set for this August.