Biden calls for ‘common sense reforms’ in wake of Justice Department’s Minneapolis police report

APTOPIX George Floyd Minneapolis Police
Attorney General Merrick Garland talks about a Department of Justice report that found the Minneapolis Police Department has engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination during a news conference, Friday, June 16, 2023, in Minneapolis. The two-year probe found that Minneapolis officers used excessive force, including “unjustified deadly force,” and violated the rights of people engaged in constitutionally protected speech. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Abbie Parr/AP

Biden calls for ‘common sense reforms’ in wake of Justice Department’s Minneapolis police report

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President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass reforms in the wake of a new report from the Department of Justice on the Minneapolis Police Department, which was put in the spotlight following the death of George Floyd in 2020.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday that “patterns and practices” of excessive force within the Minneapolis Police Department made Floyd‘s murder possible. Biden backed that up Friday afternoon with a statement of his own.

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“The findings are disturbing and underscore the urgent need for Congress to pass common sense reforms that increase public trust, combat racial discrimination, and thereby strengthen public safety,” the president said.

Garland’s remarks came at the conclusion of a two-year DOJ investigation into Floyd’s murder, for which former officer Derek Chuavin is serving a 22-year prison sentence. The civil rights investigation began in April 2021, one day after Chauvin’s conviction, to determine whether the police department engaged in unconstitutional or unlawful policing.

Garland said Friday during remarks in Minneapolis that the Justice Department, the city of Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis Police Department “have agreed in principle to negotiate towards a consent decree” — which would be a court-enforceable agreement to resolve problems with policing in the city.

In his statement, Biden called for further action at the federal level, specifically the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

“Since I took office, the Department of Justice has also taken independent and aggressive action to ensure accountability for systemic misconduct and by police departments at the local level,” Biden said. “The vast majority of Americans want the same thing: trust, safety, accountability.”

At the same time, he called for police departments to receive funding, resources, and training, repeating comments he made during the 2022 State of the Union speech.

“Any police officer will tell you that public trust is the foundation of public safety,” he said.

Minneapolis police placed Floyd under arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill at a gas station when buying cigarettes. Floyd resisted when they tried to place him into a police car, and they forced him down to the ground while handcuffed, where Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes.

The Minneapolis medical examiner later ruled that George Floyd’s cause of death was “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression” and that the manner of death was a homicide. Biden met Floyd’s daughter, Gianna Floyd, in May 2022 as he signed a policing-focused executive order.

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But he said Friday the legislative branch should take things a step further.

“I have a simple message for Congress: send the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to my desk, and I will sign it,” Biden said. “I will continue to do everything in my power to fight for police accountability in Congress, and I remain willing to work with Republicans and Democrats alike on genuine solutions.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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