Push for Police Reform Continues One Year After George Floyd’s Murder

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By Jessica Easthope

George Floyd’s death sparked protests with calls for change and a push to create new national policing standards.

But that’s not going to happen in time for President Biden’s deadline, May 25, which is the first anniversary of Floyd’s death.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed the House last year but it’s still being negotiated in the Senate.

“We’re making good progress, hopeful progress. But we still have some work, a lot of work to do,” said Senator Cory Booker.

Key negotiators Senator Cory Booker, Senator Tim Scott, and Rep. Karen Bass released a rare, joint statement.

“We are still working through our differences on key issues.”

Those key issues include determining the standard for charging police officers with crimes and changing the policy of “qualified immunity” so police officers can be sued in civil court. One senator has floated the idea of making departments rather than individual officers liable in civil cases.

Democrats say it’s about accountability but Republicans worry eliminating protections could disincentivize police. Still, both sides say they’re optimistic and closer to a deal, with Floyd’s family praying that his death will bring lasting change and reform.

“We’ve certainly come a long way and I’m optimistic we’ll get there,” said Floyd’s cousin ShareeduhTate. “But we’re more interested in having a bill that has some meat and potatoes to it versus just a symbolic bill.”

Talks for a bipartisan deal are expected to move forward this week, but Catholic leaders say the church must do more.

Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida serves as a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishophs’ Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism.

“It’s too easy to flip right over and look at the police,” Bishop Dewane said. “OK do that, I’m not arguing that changes need to be made. But I think long term, if we’re going to address this problem, it has to be looked inside.”