Biden to sign policing order on anniversary of George Floyd's death

Michael Macagnone, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

A senior administration official said the order would have agency heads consider using grant conditions or accreditation standards to encourage state and local officials to participate.

The order has the backing of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and other police groups, the administration said. In a statement issued Tuesday, the president of the group, Larry Cosme, praised the order.

“Today’s order strikes the correct balance between understanding the public need for accountability and understanding the law enforcement needs for ensuring all communities are safe and protected,” Cosme’s statement said.

Other groups, such as the National Action Network, praised the order as well. The group’s president, the Rev. Al Sharpton, called the order “an important step toward dealing with the issues of accountability and public safety.”

“George Floyd woke us up, and we should not go back to sleep,” Sharpton said. “The failure of the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is still something that we will never give up on.”

At the same time, Biden’s order is limited in its scope, and does not address the vast majority of law enforcement agencies across the country. Senior administration officials noted that without legislation, the order cannot mandate any changes for state or local law enforcement — a major goal of the police reform movement that roared to prominence after Floyd’s death.


Bipartisan talks on stand-alone police legislation fell apart last year as Democrats accused Republicans of being unwilling to compromise and Republicans argued Democratic proposals would defund police departments.

Democrats similarly backed off an effort to pass new language on police misconduct in a spending bill earlier this year amid Republican accusations the bill would defund local law enforcement.

Wednesday’s order also builds on a new use-of-force policy the Justice Department announced last week. That policy goes into effect in July and emphasizes de-escalation.

Additionally, officers would have a duty to intervene if they see others engaging in excessive force and a duty to render medical aid.

Administration officials said Biden plans to sign the order at the White House Wednesday along with federal law enforcement officials, members of Congress and family members of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain — all three of whom died at the hands of local police officers.

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