Two years have passed since the Minneapolis police killed George Floyd while he was in their custody on May 25, 2020, and a year has passed since the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act has been stalled. President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order today, May 25, 2022, to reform federal law enforcement.
Under the order, there will be new use-of-force rules for federal law enforcement and local police departments will be encouraged to make similar changes.
Here are three things to know.
Police reform activists have been pushing to address police accountability for years, especially after Floyd’s murder. Some see this move by Biden as a “fallback” after Congress failed to pass a package of reforms in 2021 under the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
The new order will pertain only to federal law enforcement as the president can’t order local police agencies to follow suit. However, it will include grant incentives to encourage state and local agencies to adopt the same measures.
Relatives of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor will be present for the signing of the order, senior administration officials said. Taylor was shot and killed on March 13, 2020, by police during a no-knock raid on her home in Louisville, Ky.
The executive order instructs federal law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and Customs and Border Protection, to revise their use-of-force policies. The new federal minimum standard will allow force “only when no reasonably effective, safe and feasible alternative appears to exist,” according to administration officials, NPR reported.
Federal agents will be banned from using chokeholds and carotid artery restraints “unless deadly force is authorized.”
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The order also limits federal officers’ use of “no-knock warrants” and requires federal law enforcement agencies to publicly document when and why they use no-knock warrants and any injuries that result.
The executive order for police accountability will create a new database of national law enforcement officers fired for misconduct. Local and state police agencies would be “able” to contribute to and consult the database.
The executive order for police accountability marks a compromise between the White House and law enforcement agencies, which had previously pushed back against reform. It is expected to be more limited than an earlier draft version, The New York Times reported.
Photo: Ken Westphal, center, an officer with the Lacey Police Dept. and an instructor at the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, works with cadets LeAnne Cone, of the Vancouver Police Dept., and Kevin Burton-Crow, right, of the Thurston Co. Sheriff’s Dept., during a training exercise, July 14, 2021, in Burien, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)