WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden signed an executive order yesterday aimed at reforming policing practices on the second anniversary of the death of George Floyd.
The order creates a national registry of officers fired for misconduct and encourages state and local police to tighten restrictions on chokeholds and so-called no-knock warrants. It also limits the transfer of military equipment to law enforcement agencies and mandates that all federal agents wear activated body cameras.
Biden had been pushing Congress to pass more comprehensive police reform legislation, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The White House began crafting its own action last year after it failed to garner bipartisan support. Biden called on Congress to take action before signing the order.
Biden said that progress can be slow and frustrating, and there is a concern that the reckoning on race inspired two years ago is beginning to fade.
Today, we are acting. We re showing that speaking out matters, being engaged matters, and that the work of our time, healing the soul of this nation, is ongoing and unfinished and requires all of us never to give up. Police reform is a key issue with the Democratic Party's progressive base, particularly among Black voters, but the White House event Wednesday was overshadowed by the Texas elementary school shooting the day before. During his remarks, Biden called on Congress to pass gun reform legislation.
And we must ask when in God's name do we do what needs to be done? Biden said something.
I am tired and sick. He said that I was sick and tired of what is going on and continues to go on.
Floyd's family, who died after he was pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer, was at the White House for the signing. A senior administration official said that families of other Black people killed by police in recent years — Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Amir Locke and Atatiana Jefferson — also attended.
Under the new executive order, law enforcement will have to intervene and stop the use of excessive force when they see it, and administer medical aid to those who are injured.
While Biden can't directly issue mandates to state and local law enforcement agencies, senior administration officials who briefed reporters on the action said attorneys general should use their power to grant grants that promote and support agencies that want to adopt such policies but could use federal help.
The Justice Department in September put new limits on chokeholds and no-knock warrants for the department s law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S.