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MPs on Wednesday passed George Floyd’s Police Justice Act, a police reform bill that would ban detention and remove qualified immunity for law enforcement. The 220-212 vote came nine months after Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed by Minneapolis police last spring.
Extensive legislation will also ban insensitivity orders, require the collection of data on police meetings, prohibit racial and religious profiling, and redirect funding to community policing programs.
“Never again should an unarmed person be killed or brutally killed by someone who is supposed to serve and protect them,” spokeswoman Karen Bass, of California, said in a statement. “Never again should the world be the subject of witnessing what we saw happen to George Floyd on the streets of Minnesota.”
In a debate on the floor of the house Wednesday night before the vote, Democratic MP Ilhan Omar of Minnesota said Minneapolis was still traumatized by Floyd’s death. “We have witnessed time and time again that people who have sworn to protect our communities are abusing their power,” she said.
Last year, the House passed a similar version of the bill, but failed in the Republican-controlled Senate. This time, Democrats in the Senate will have to shake at least 10 Republican members for the bill to succeed.
Republicans say the legislation goes too far and would prevent the police from doing their job effectively. Republican Carlos Jimenez of Florida said on the floor of the house on Wednesday that the bill would “weaken and eventually destroy our community’s police force.”
Earlier this week, the Biden administration issued a statement calling on Parliament to vote in favor of the proposal.
“To make our communities safe, we need to start by restoring trust between law enforcement and the people entrusted with serving and protecting,” the statement said. “We cannot restore this trust if we do not hold police officers accountable for abuses of power and deal with systemic violations and systemic racism – in police departments.”
On Monday, President Biden also called for his admission on Twitter.
“After discussion in the Senate, I hope to be able to sign a law on a significant police reform bill,” he said.
I am pleased that the Chamber will vote next week on the George Floyd Justice Act in the police force. I encourage the House to pass it. After discussion in the Senate, I hope to be able to sign a law on a significant police reform bill.
– President Biden (@POTUS) February 25, 2021
The trial of Derek Chauvin, a former police officer accused of killing Floyd, is set to begin in Minneapolis on March 8. Chauvin, who was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes, faces charges of murder and second-degree murder.
Severe security measures, including barricades and fences around the courthouse, were introduced before the trial. And thousands of police and National Guard officers will be in Minneapolis next week.
The remaining officers involved in Floyd’s murder will be tried in a separate hearing in August.