WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — House and Senate Democrats unveiled their new plan for police reform on Monday.
South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn helped unveil the Justice in Policing Act. The legislation is a reaction to the nationwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, the black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck.
“With liberty and justice for all,” Clyburn said. “But for 241 years, there were plenty knees.”
Clyburn and other Democrats took a knee in silence on Monday for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in memory of Floyd and other black men and women killed while in police custody.
“It was a very powerful moment, I shall never forget it,” Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) said.
Butterfield said the newly-introduced bill will help restore trust in police departments “and redefine what law enforcement is and what it is not.”
The bill would ban chokeholds like the kind used in the death of Floyd, remove barriers to prosecuting and suing police for misconduct and stop the federal government from providing military equipment to local police.
Republican Congressman Buddy Carter of Georgia – whose district has been rattled by the death of another black man, Ahmaud Arbery – said Democrats didn’t bother to ask for Republican input.
“It has to be addressed but it has to be in a bipartisan way,” Carter said.
Congressman Jody Hice (R-GA) said it’s going to take more than legislation to fix the problem of racism in America.
“We need God back in America,” Hice said.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said President Donald Trump is still looking at the bill.
“There are some nonstarters in there,” McEnany said.
Democrats want to move the bill swiftly through the House and get it to the Senate floor for a vote by July.