Senate Republicans unveil police reform measure

With a call for action on police brutality spreading through both political parties in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, GOP Senators on Wednesday unveiled their own package of police reforms, as both the House and Senate will try to take action on competing plans over the next few weeks.

"It's police reform, accountability, and transparency," said Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who has been the GOP point man on the issue.

The only black Republican Senator, Scott again told of how he has been stopped repeatedly for "Driving While Black," including one time in 2020, when an officer warned his about turning on his blinker incorrectly when making a lane change.

"We can train our officers better, we can find ways and mechanisms to de-escalate the situations," Scott said of the GOP package, which will emphasize ways to have police seek better ways to manage possibly violent interactions with suspects on the streets.

"We're serious about making a law here," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who announced that the Senate would try to turn to the Scott bill as early as next week.

The Senate GOP plan does more than President Trump's Executive Order on police accountability issued on Tuesday, but less than a sweeping package of reforms from Democrats in the House.

While Senators have been having discussions about details of a reform bill, there was no hint of ongoing talks, as a key Republican slammed Democrats over efforts to deal with police brutality.

"I'm getting a little tired of being lectured to by my Democratic colleagues, that all of this is Trump's fault," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), whose stern statement rang a different note, as he blamed Democrats for not trying to make reforms during the Obama Administration.

"So, if you want to fight about that, let's fight," Graham added, talking about the chokehold issue.

Unlike a bill from House Democrats, the GOP plan does not address the issue of 'qualified immunity,' which limits lawsuits against individual police officers for their misconduct.

“The Senate proposal of studies and reporting without transparency and accountability is inadequate,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  “The Senate’s so-called Justice Act is not action.”

The 106 page bill from Senate Republicans on police reform and accountability can be read here.

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