US House of Representatives approves policing legislation

US House of Representatives passes policing legislation by a majority of 236-181.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

The US Capitol building
The US Capitol building

The US House of Representatives on Thursday passed policing legislation named in honor of George Floyd, whose death in police custody in Minneapolis has sparked nationwide calls to address police misconduct and racial injustice and prompted weeks of protests and civil unrest.

The bill passed largely along party lines amid Republican opposition with a final tally of 236-181, according to CNN. Three Republicans crossed party lines to vote in favor: Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Will Hurd of Texas, and Fred Upton of Michigan.

The legislation was put forward by House Democrats and is not expected to be taken up in the Senate. Its passage comes a day after Democrats blocked a competing Republican bill in the upper chamber.

Despite calls from both parties for quick action to address police misconduct, efforts to find common ground have largely devolved into partisan finger-pointing as each side takes issue with the other party's approach.

The House legislation -- titled the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 -- has provisions to overhaul qualified immunity for law enforcement, prohibitions on racial profiling on the part of law enforcement and a ban on no-knock warrants in federal drug cases. It would ban chokeholds at the federal level and classify them as a civil rights violation, and would establish a national registry of police misconduct maintained by the Department of Justice.

"Today with the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the House is honoring his life and the lives of all those killed by police brutality and pledging: Never again," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a press event on Thursday ahead of the vote.

"When we pass this bill, the Senate will have a choice: to honor George Floyd's life or to do nothing," she added.

The House legislation puts more of an emphasis on setting national standards, such as mandating federal uniformed officers to wear body cameras and banning chokeholds. The Senate Republican plan focuses more on incentivizing states to take action.

Senate Democrats on Wednesday criticized the GOP policing reform proposal as an inadequate response to the national calls to address police misconduct, and they denied Republicans the votes needed to clear a procedural hurdle and open floor debate on the legislation.

Senate Republicans have criticized Democrats in return, arguing that they are being obstructionist and shutting down an open legislative process.