23:27 GMT05 July 2020
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    The GOP initiative was announced last week by President Donald Trump in response to the protests over the death of George Floyd that have been ongoing for weeks and demands to "defund the police". Trump refused to cut the funds, suggesting instead an array of measures aimed at preventing new cases of police brutality.

    The police reform bill introduced by the Republicans in the Senate has failed to pass a crucial vote due to strong opposition from the Democrats. The bill fell short of the 60 votes needed as the Democrats argued that the proposed law doesn't go far enough in dealing with and preventing police brutality and negligence towards people’s lives.

    "If you don't think we're right, make it better, don't walk away", black Republican Senator and author of the bill Tim Scott said, condemning the Democrats' opposition.

    Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, in turn, that he hoped the bill would fail, adding that in his opinion this would open up a path to resolving the issue in coordination, not competition, with the GOP.

    The Republican bill suggested the introduction of a variety of measures that would prevent police from killing unarmed and non-dangerous suspects, as was the case with African-American man George Floyd, whose death sparked nationwide weeks-long protests in the US. The bill would ban police from using chokeholds unless absolutely necessary, incentivise police departments to apply the strictest rules to certification for officers, as well as invest in anti-bias and de-escalation training.

    A protester gestures as buildings burn during continued demonstrations against the death in Minneapolis police custody of African-American man George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., May 30, 2020
    © REUTERS / Lucas Jackson
    A protester gestures as buildings burn during continued demonstrations against the death in Minneapolis police custody of African-American man George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., May 30, 2020

    The bill also proposed establishing a federal database that would store all information about an officer's misconduct or excessive use of force and thus prevent serial violators from simply moving between police departments. As US President Donald Trump presented the bill, he also promised to invest in the development of new advanced and less lethal weapons for police to prevent fatal "interactions".

    While the Republican police reform bill has similarities with the Democratic one, the latter goes further in some areas – namely, it strips police officers of qualified immunity, thereby allowing victims of misconduct to sue them. Republicans argue that such a measure, which is included in the bill that is set to be submitted in the House on 25 June, would have a devastating effect on law enforcement. Both bills, however, stop short of fulfilling one of the most popular demands of the George Floyd protesters – to defund the police and redirect the money to other community services.

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    Tags:
    US Senate, US Democratic Party, Democratic Party, Police Reform, Republican Party, US
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