With Congress stalled over racism and excessive use of force, President Joe Biden plans to sign an executive order on Wednesday, the second anniversary of George Floyd’s death.
The decision is an attempt to strike a balance between the police and civil rights groups at a time when Biden’s struggle to use his office’s limited powers to deliver on his campaign promises, growing crime concerns and calls for reform are waning. reflects.
Most of the orders focus on federal law enforcement agencies requiring, for example, to review and amend policies regarding the use of force. It will also create a database that will help track misconduct by officers, according to the White House.
While the administration can’t require local police departments to participate in a database designed to prevent problem officers from moving to other jobs, officials are looking to use federal funds to encourage cooperation.
The order will also limit the flow of surplus military equipment to local police.
The public announcement is scheduled for the day after Biden returns from his first Asian tour as president.
Pastor Al Sharpton described Biden’s order as an “important step” that the president had “taken the lead” when Congress failed to act, but activists said they would “never give up” on pushing the bill.
“George Floyd has woken us up and we must not go back to sleep,” Sharpton said in a statement.
Former Vice President Biden is expected to appear alongside Floyd’s relatives who were killed by Minneapolis police two years ago, which sparked national protests.
It was the largest protest in U.S. history, amid the COVID-19 lockdown and President Donald Trump’s divisive re-election campaign.
But turning the initial cry for political change proved difficult.
When four police officers were convicted of the murder of Floyd last year, Biden urged Congress to pass legislation to reform police by the anniversary of his death.
He said the verdict was “not enough” and “I can’t stop here.”
However, the bill was not passed, and bipartisan negotiations continued, but eventually fell through.
The White House eventually decided to take administrative action without waiting for Congress.
In September, the Department of Justice updated its policy to curtail the use of knock warrants by federal agents (which allows law enforcement agents to enter a home without announcing their presence) and prohibit agents from using chokeholds in most situations.
But extending these rules to local police is more difficult, and White House officials have been negotiating with civil rights groups and police organizations for months.
The resulting set of policies is less extensive than originally sought, let alone a one-year delay.
NAACP President Derek Johnson said: “We are well aware that an executive order cannot address America’s security crisis in the same way Congress can, but we must do everything we can.”
The order goes beyond issues related to misconduct and the use of force. It also assesses the impact of facial recognition software on civil liberties, finds ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in federal correctional facilities, and suggests better ways to gather data on police practices.
This research could eventually pave the way for further change within US law enforcement agencies in the future.