On the second anniversary of the death of George Floyd, U.S. President Joe Biden issued a comprehensive executive order aimed at reforming federal and local policing, while also pressuring an apparently unmovable Congress to act on police and gun reform, Reuters reports.
The order requires all federal agencies to review their use-of-force policy, establishes a national register of officers who have been dismissed for misbehavior, and uses funding to motivate state and local police to employ chokeholds and neck restraints less frequently.
“It’s a measure of what we can do together to heal the very soul of this nation, to address the profound fear trauma, exhaustion particularly Black Americans have experienced for generations,” Biden said, as quoted by Reuters.
He hadn’t signed it sooner because he hoped Congress would enact a police reform bill named after Floyd, he explained. Last September, the measure was defeated in the United States Senate by Republican opposition.
Biden appeared the day after a horrific shooting at a Texas elementary school, and in his opening remarks, he blamed Congress for failing to pass tighter gun restrictions.
The White House police order limits the use of no-knock entrances to a certain set of conditions, such as when an informed entry would put someone in danger of physical harm.
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a Black man accused of passing counterfeit cash, was killed by Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, who knelt on his neck while three other cops watched. Months before Biden’s election, the event sparked a surge of anti-racism rallies.
Following his conviction on murder charges, Chauvin was sentenced to 22-and-a-half years in jail.
Members of Floyd’s family, human rights groups, and law enforcement officials stood with Biden, as did Vice President Kamala Harris, who chastised Republicans for failing to enact the policy measure.