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House passes police reform bill some call ‘anti-police’

The House of Representatives has passed a police reform bill that would ban certain police tactics and require local law enforcement to follow guidelines outlined by Congress.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act was passed in a 220-212 vote late Wednesday night and now moves on to the Senate.  At least 10 Republicans are needed for it to pass the evenly divided chamber.

After saying he accidentally voted in favor of the bill, Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Texas), stated “Of course I wouldn’t support the radical left’s Anti-Police Act,” he wrote. “I have changed the official record to reflect my opposition!”

Alongside a ban of controversial police tactics such as chock-holds and no-knock warrants, it would prohibit “qualified immunity” for law enforcement with some say it leaves little legal protection for officers wrongly accused.

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The legislation’s author, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), said the legislation would hold police officers accountable if they violate constitutional rights. She co-authored it with Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY).

“How many more people have to die, how many more people have to be brutalized on videotape” before police reforms become law, asked Bass.

Some criticism of the bill is being led by people of color including many in the Hispanic community.

One of those critics is Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.) who says it would make communities less safe, endangering the lives of law enforcement across the nation. The bill would “weaken and possibly destroy our community’s police forces,” he said.

Former police officer Derek Chauvin, charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in Floyd’s death, will appear in court when on March 8 in Minneapolis which is the scheduled beginning of the trial. Chauvin, along with another white police officer, plus one black and one Asian officer, have been charged to varying degrees in the death of Floyd.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice