"Never again should an unarmed individual be murdered or brutalized by someone who is supposed to serve and protect them," Rep. Karen Bass said in a statement.
The US House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a police reform bill that would ban chokeholds and overhaul qualified immunity protections for officers. Democratic lawmakers believe the legislation will reduce police violence against people of color, particularly Black Americans, while improving policing for everyone. "At some point, we have to ask ourselves, how many more people have to die? How many more people have to be brutalized on videotape?" Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), who introduced the bill, said ahead of its passage. "We must act now to transform policing in the United States."
BREAKING: US House votes 220-212 to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act; bill moves to Senate. pic.twitter.com/XaLDntPR35— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 4, 2021
"Never again should an unarmed individual be murdered or brutalized by someone who is supposed to serve and protect them," she added in a statement, reports NPR. "Never again should the world be subject to witnessing what we saw happen to George Floyd in the streets in Minnesota." H.R. 1280 would also ban no-knock warrants, mandate data collection on police encounters, prohibit racial and religious profiling, and redirect funding to community-based policing programs. According to NBC News, although the bill passed 220-212, a Republican representative changed the official record to reflect his opposition saying that he'd voted yes by mistake.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act:— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 4, 2021
Overhauls qualified immunity for police officers
Bans chokeholds at the federal level
Prohibits no-knock warrants in federal drug cases
Outlaws racial profiling
Establish a national registry of police misconduct to be managed by DOJ
The vote came nine months after George Floyd, a Black man, died after a White Minneapolis police officer named Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for minutes on May 25 last year. In a debate on the House floor Wednesday evening prior to the vote, Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota said Minneapolis is still traumatized by the 46-year-old's death. "Time and time again we have witnessed the people who are sworn to protect our communities abuse their power," she said. Although the House had passed a version of the bill last year, the Republican-controlled Senate never took it up.
Today, 10 months after George Floyd’s murder, I had the honor to preside over debate and call the vote ahead of passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) March 4, 2021
We have an opportunity to address centuries of brutality. Let's seize it. pic.twitter.com/u4wgvbIRFz
This time around, Democrats have the support of the White House and a slight edge in the Senate. However, they will still have to sway at least 10 Republican members for the bill to succeed. Representative Bass said she is confident that House members will be able to work with the Senate to get H.R. 1280 passed, saying that after the last bill passed, "many of our Republican colleagues said they thought they could get to yes on this, but they had some difficulties."
BREAKING: The House has passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a police reform bill that would ban chokeholds and eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement.https://t.co/TYzQlAV20r— NPR (@NPR) March 4, 2021
"One of the things that has happened in the last 12 months, though, is that many states moved ahead without us, and they started passing reforms," Bass said. "So, this time, when we sit down to meet, we can talk about reforms that are already in place." Meanwhile, Republicans claim the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act goes too far and would prevent police from doing their jobs effectively. Republican Rep. Carlos Gimenez of Florida said on the House floor that the bill would "weaken and possibly destroy our community's police forces." On the other hand, the Biden administration threw its support behind the bill earlier this week, releasing a statement urging the House to vote in favor of the proposal.
I will proudly vote for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) March 4, 2021
I do it for Aiyana Stanley-Jones. She was only 7 yrs old. @detroitpolice used military-like equipment that killed her.
Aiyana: This bill could have easily been named for you baby girl. https://t.co/b3dbfDT5Gq
"To make our communities safe, we must begin by rebuilding trust between law enforcement and the people they are entrusted to serve and protect," the statement said. "We cannot rebuild that trust if we do not hold police officers accountable for abuses of power and tackle systemic misconduct – and systemic racism – in police departments." President Biden also pushed for its passage on Twitter on Monday, tweeting: "I am pleased that the House will vote next week on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. I encourage the House to pass it. Following Senate consideration, I hope to be able to sign into law a landmark police reform bill."
Last summer, George Floyd spoke his final words, ‘I can’t breathe,' & changed the course of our nation's history. Today, the House is honoring his life & the lives of all killed by police brutality by re-introducing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Acthttps://t.co/VMTQ684Ytf— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) February 24, 2021
Attorneys for the Floyd family, Benjamin Crump and Antonio Romanucci, issued a statement on behalf of the family expressing gratitude to House leadership and urging the Senate to pass the bill. "This represents a major step forward to reform the relationship between police officers and communities of color and impose accountability on law enforcement officers whose conscious decisions preserve the life or cause the death of Americans, including so many people of color," they said.