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House Democrats pass sweeping police overhaul, Senate stalls

House Democrats pass sweeping police overhaul, Senate stalls
Posted at 8:58 PM, Jun 25, 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats in the House have approved a far-reaching policing overhaul. It's a vote heavy with emotion and symbolism as they seek to address the global outcry over the deaths of George Floyd and other Black Americans. But Congress is divided and chances for it becoming law are dim. A Senate Republican effort collapsed this week.

President Donald Trump's administration says he will veto the Democratic bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gathered with lawmakers on the Capitol steps to challenge Congress to not let the deaths be in vain. It’s exactly one month since Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis sparked a global reckoning over police tactics and racial injustice.

According to a Congressional summary of the bill, the legislation would:

  • Limit qualified immunity as a defense to liability in a private civil action against a law enforcement officer or state correctional officer
  • Authorize the Department of Justice to issue subpoenas in investigations of police departments for a pattern or practice of discrimination
  • Lower the criminal intent standard—from willful to knowing or reckless—to convict a law enforcement officer for misconduct in a federal prosecution

The bill also creates a national registry—the National Police Misconduct Registry—to compile data on complaints and records of police misconduct.