SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The fate of a police reform bill named after George Floyd is in the hands of the United States Senate.
After a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris both called for the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021, which narrowly passed the House of Representatives 220-212 on March 3.
South Dakota’s lone Representative Dusty Johnson voted against HR 1280, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021.
In a statement to KELOLAND News, Johnson said he supports South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott’s police reform bill.
“Real and enduring judicial reform needs to be bipartisan and solutions-focused. We can all do better, and we can all be better, that’s why I’m supportive of Senator Tim Scott’s JUSTICE Act which will provide long-term solutions focused on reform and transparency in policing,” Johnson said in an emailed statement.
The JUSTICE Act, Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere (JUSTICE), was introduced in June 2020. It was filibustered by Senate Democrats, but Sen. Scott has discussed using his bill as a way to find compromise between Republicans and Democrats with the any police reform legislation.
The wide-ranging bill focuses on policing practices and law enforcement accountability. Notably, the bill would lower “the criminal intent standard—from willful to knowing or reckless—to convict a law enforcement officer for misconduct in a federal prosecution.”
It would create a national registry for data on complaints and records of police misconduct and direct the Department of Justice to “create uniform accreditation standards for law enforcement agencies and requires law enforcement officers to complete training on racial profiling, implicit bias, and the duty to intervene when another officer uses excessive force.”
The 137-page bill also created framework “to prevent and remedy racial profiling by law enforcement at the federal, state, and local levels.” The bill also limits unnecessary use of force, restricting specifically the use of “no-knock warrants, chokeholds and carotid holds.”
The bill was received in the Senate on March 9, but there’s been no action on it since then.
A spokesman for Sen. Rounds said the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 is still being reviewed and Sen. Rounds had no further comment on it at this time.
In an emailed statement, Sen. Thune said he will not support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021.
“This is an issue we tried to address last year in the wake of George Floyd’s death, but Senate Democrats used the filibuster to block Sen. Tim Scott’s police reform bill,” Thune said. “We have demonstrated that there is a bipartisan interest in addressing this challenge, but that will only happen if Senate Democrats are open to working with Republicans. However, I will not support legislation that strips protections from and vilifies our law enforcement community.”
The Fraternal Order of Police, the largest law enforcement labor organization in the United States, said it was “disappointed” the House passed H.R. 1280 “without Committee consideration or any real debate on meaningful amendments.”
The FOP said the organization said it directly opposes the “ending the doctrine of qualified immunity.” That doctrine shields government officials from being held personally liable for constitutional violations.