By: Laverne McGee/ BNC Journalist
President Trump has signed an executive order on police reform after weeks of national protests over police brutality, sparked by the death of George Floyd.
The 46-year-old African American died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Memorial Day. A video went viral of a white police officer kneeling on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
The executive order is aimed at improving police practices such as use of force.
After signing the order, he spoke from the Rose Garden and said that this executive action was to support the safety and security of all Americans.
In his opening remarks the President said:
“I’ve just concluded a meeting with incredible families — just incredible families that have been through so much. The families of Ahmaud Arbery, Botham Jean, Antwon Rose, Jemel Roberson, Atatiana Jefferson, Michael Dean, Darius Tarver, Cameron Lamb, and Everett Palmer. These are incredible people. Incredible people. And it’s so sad.
Many of these families lost their loved ones in deadly interactions with police. To all of the hurting families, I want you to know that all Americans mourn by your side. Your loved ones will not have died in vain. We are one nation. We grieve together, and we heal together. I can never imagine your pain or the depth of your anguish, but I can promise to fight for justice for all of our people. And I gave a commitment to all of those families today with Senator Tim Scott and Attorney General Bill Barr. “
Several key take takeaways include establishing a database to keep track of officers who have several use of force complaints, along with a ban on police chokeholds unless the officer’s life is in danger. Also, from the President’s remarks today:
Under the executive order I’m signing today, we will prioritize federal grants from the Department of Justice to police departments that seek independent credentialing, certifying that they meet high standards and, in fact, in certain cases, the highest standard — that’s where they do the best — on the use of force and de-escalation training.
For example, many believe that proper training might have prevented the tragic deaths of Antwon Rose and Botham Jean. As part of this new credentialing process, chokeholds will be banned, except if an officer’s life is at risk.
And I will say, we’ve dealt with all of the various departments, and everybody said, “It’s time. We have to do it.”
Additionally, we’re looking at new advanced and powerful less-lethal weapons to help prevent deadly interactions. New devices are being developed all the time, and we’re looking at the best of them. And cost is no object. No object.
Under this executive order, departments will also need to share of information about credible abuses so that officers with significant issues do not simply move from one police department to the next. That’s a problem. And the heads of our police departments said, “Whatever you can do about that, please let us know.” We’re letting you know. We’re doing a lot about it.
In addition, my order will direct federal funding to support officers in dealing with homeless individuals and those who have mental illness and substance-abuse problems. We will provide more resources for co-responders, such as social workers who can help officers manage these complex encounters. And this is what they’ve studied and worked on all their lives. They understand how to do it. We’re going to get the best of them put in our police departments and working with our police. We will have reform without undermining our many great and extremely talented law enforcement officers.
President Trump says he does not support requests to de-fund the police, and in fact was surrounded by representatives from law enforcement unions.