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Will the Vicious Killing of Tyre Nichols Give Congress the Political Will For Police Reform?

Is Washington able to translating outrage into motion?

Each Democrats and Republicans over the weekend condemned the vicious killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, which renewed requires police reform. “We should do the whole lot in our energy to make sure our prison justice system lives as much as the promise of truthful and neutral justice, equal remedy, and dignity for all,” President Joe Biden stated in an announcement, as horrific video of police beating Nichols to dying was launched to the general public. However such vital federal laws appears an unlikely prospect in a divided Congress, the place some leaders within the GOP-led Home have already appeared to wave away the necessity for main reform. “I don’t know that there’s any regulation that may cease that evil that we noticed,” Home Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan stated on Meet the Press Sunday. 

“There’s issues we will do,” Jordan added. “I nonetheless suppose you wish to preserve this on the state and native degree. It is a regulation enforcement concern.”

Nonetheless, Biden and Democratic leaders are promising to forge forward. “We’re calling on our colleagues within the Home and Senate to jumpstart negotiations now and work with us to handle the general public well being epidemic of police violence that disproportionately impacts lots of our communities,” Democrat Steven Horsford, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, stated in a assertion Sunday. “The brutal beating of Tyre Nichols was homicide and is a grim reminder that we nonetheless have an extended strategy to go in fixing systemic police violence in America.” 

Whereas extra systemic reform stays a longshot — if Democrats couldn’t get it accomplished whereas they’d unified management in Washington, it’s much more unlikely in a divided authorities — there could also be a chance for at the least some progress. Democratic Senator Cory Booker, who led the push for prison justice reform in Biden’s first yr till negotiations with Republican Senator Tim Scott fell aside that September, vowed over the weekend to “renew my legislative efforts” on policing, and is anticipated to reintroduce a model of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act he tried to enact after the 2020 killing of Floyd in Minneapolis. “We are able to do higher, we should do higher, and this second calls for once more that we muster the political will to behave,” Booker stated in a statement

Final time, that political will proved inadequate, as Scott — the one Black Republican senator — “was not prepared to embrace a lot of the change that we had agreed upon,” as Booker informed Mom Jones in 2021. However even Jordan left the door open to extra focused reforms, and it’s potential the video of 5 Memphis officers, all of whom have been charged with homicide, and their “SCORPION” police unit disbanded, beating Nichols to dying may at the least set off some modest motion. “Individuals wish to discover what are choices that we may conceivably see come to the Congress,” a senior Democratic aide informed Politico

It’s unclear what these gadgets could also be, however Republican Senator Lindsey Graham suggested Sunday that whereas he opposes lawsuits towards particular person officers, which they’re at present protected towards by “certified immunity,” he believes that “holding police departments accountable is sensible.”

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