In the wake of Tyre Nichols’ death, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) on Thursday to discuss promoting policing reform.
Biden expressed his hope that the “dark memory” of Nichols’ passing “spurs some action that we’ve all been fighting for.” as the group convened in the Oval Office. The president stated, “We got to stay at it as long as it takes,”
All Democrats, including the chair of the CBC, Rep. Steven Horsford, Sens. Cory Booker, Raphael Warnock, James Clyburn, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Joe Neguse, were present. Following their discussion with Biden and Harris, CBC members declared they were “exploring all options” for police reform.
Horsford claimed that “legislative, executive, and community-based solutions” were all being taken into account, but the organization wouldn’t specify whether or not they had spoken to Republicans.
Horsford responded that further information on a legislative package would be released “as we work with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle in both the Senate and House.” when asked if they could provide a preview of a course of action.
Warnock stated that the president “understands the work that we’ve got to do going forward.” and that it “it was good to have an opportunity to talk” with Biden about these matters.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and the direction of police reform in Congress were discussed during the meeting, according to a statement from the White House.
According to the White House, Biden and Harris “made clear that no executive action can substitute for federal legislation.” In the weeks since Nichols’ tragic run-in with Memphis police, calls for legislative action have been louder.
Officers were seen in a graphic video from the altercation on January 7 punching and kicking Nichols after a traffic check. 3 days later, he passed away. He experienced “extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating.”
According to an impartial preliminary autopsy ordered by the family. In their statements at Nichols‘ burial on Wednesday, Nichols’ parents, lawyer Ben Crump, and Rev. Al Sharpton all called for the passing of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
Harris also urged Congress to pass the bill, describing it as “non-negotiable.” As the caucus sat down with the president and vice president on Thursday, Horsford stated, “The death of Tyree Nichols is yet another example of why we do need action,”
The group entered the otherwise closed-door meeting without elaborating on policies they meant to debate. Any policing reform, however, will face a tough fight in the divided Congress.
Just before he met with the CBC, ABC News’ Justin Gomez pushed Biden on whether police reform would be feasible this Congress. Biden put his hands in the air and added, “I hope so,”
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, a Republican, shot down the notion of utilizing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act as a starting point in negotiations ahead of Thursday’s meeting between the caucus and Biden.
Scott stated on Twitter that “Resurrecting the House progressives’ police reform bill is a non-starter,” Despite passing the Democratic-controlled House in 2021, the law never got off the ground in the Senate, where there was a standoff principally over the subject of officers’ qualified immunity.
Scott collaborated with Booker in 2021 to reach an agreement on the topic. Scott has been at the center of Senate debates on police reform in recent years. Any policing reform legislation would certainly require his seal of approval to win the needed level of Republican support in the Senate.
“I’ve been working toward common ground solutions that actually have a shot at passing,” he tweeted. “Solutions to increase funding and training to ensure only the best wear the badge. Solutions that would have made a difference in places like Memphis & Kenosha.
Here’s the truth: We can get something meaningful done. We can pass a bill that the majority of Congress—and the majority of Americans—would agree on.”
I’ve been working toward common ground solutions that actually have a shot at passing. Solutions to increase funding and training to make sure only the best wear the badge. Solutions that would have made a difference in places like Memphis & Kenosha.
— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) February 2, 2023
At his weekly news conference on Thursday, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries informed the media that he had spoken with CBC officials before meeting at the White House.
Jeffries refused to speculate on the precise date on which Democrats would introduce a policing bill, saying he wouldn’t speak before the meeting.
“We do need to have a real, genuine, authentic, and bipartisan conversation about dealing with police reform in America, and figuring out how do we strengthen the relationship between the police and the community,” Jeffries said.
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For almost 4 years, Jason Martin has been a freelance writer for newspapers, journals, blogs, books, and online material. He covers the most recent news as well as many other topics.