Republican U.S. Senator Scott unveils police reforms, Democrats push for broader changes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Republicans unveiled a legislation enforcement reform invoice on Wednesday as a rival to extra sweeping Democratic laws, as Congress sought to curb racial discrimination and police abuses three weeks after the dying of George Floyd.

Crafted by Senator Tim Scott, the chamber’s solely black Republican, the invoice would use federal grant cash to discourage using chokeholds and no-knock warrants and encourage using physique cameras.

It takes a much less aggressive method than rival laws backed by Democrats within the House of Representatives, which mandates authorized and coverage adjustments to rein in police misconduct.

Floyd’s dying in Minneapolis on May 25, after a policeman knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes, sparked weeks of widespread protests and recent requires reforms. Opinion polls present widespread help for policing reforms.

Scott here has spoken out about his experiences with racial discrimination prior to now and at occasions has criticized President Donald Trump on the problem.

At Wednesday’s information convention, he mentioned that he had been pulled over by police seven occasions in a single 12 months – an expertise shared by many African Americans.

“I was stopped this year, driving while black,” Scott mentioned. “And so this issue continues and that’s why it’s so important for us to say: ‘We hear you, we’re listening to your concerns.’”

“We’re not a racist country. We deal with racism because there’s racism in the country,” he mentioned.

Unlike the Democratic plan, Scott’s invoice wouldn’t permit victims of misconduct to sue police, ban police chokeholds outright or create new guidelines to limit using deadly pressure.

Democrats mentioned Scott’s invoice didn’t go far sufficient.

“It gives lip service to the problem. There’s just no teeth in it. Literally what he is proposing would not save a life,” Senator Kamala Harris, one of many chamber’s two African-American Democrats, advised reporters.

The House Judiciary Committee authorized the Democratic invoice by a 24-14 party-line vote late on Wednesday, clearing the best way for a vote within the full Democratic-controlled chamber, presumably by July 4.

Both payments make lynching a federal crime, discourage using deadly pressure, promote using physique cameras and search higher policing requirements that prioritize strategies for de-escalating confrontations with suspects.

The Republican-led Senate will debate Scott’s invoice subsequent week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell mentioned.

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It is unclear whether or not Democrats within the Senate will oppose the measure or attempt to change it.

Trump on Tuesday signed an order that might steer federal cash to police departments that comply with exterior assessment and restrict chokeholds. Top Democrats and plenty of civil-rights teams mentioned it was insufficient.

Reporting by David Morgan; Additional reporting by Richard Cowan, Susan Heavey and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney


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