WASHINGTON (NBC News) – President Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order on police reform. His actions follow weeks of nationwide protests triggered by the death of George Floyd.
As he signed the order, Mr. Trump praised law enforcement agencies.
“Without police there is chaos,” the president said. “Without law there is anarchy. Without safety there is catastrophe.”
The president laid out his response to weeks of protests, anger and pain after meeting with families of victims of police brutality and reading their names.
“Your loved ones will not have died in vain,” he promised.
Still, Mr. Trump did not address the heart of protesters’ concerns: Systemic racism.
He called the percentage of bad police officers “tiny” and vowed harsh penalties for rioting and looting.
The new order includes a national database tracking officers with multiple reports of misconduct and encourages police to partner with mental health professionals when dealing with issues like addiction, homelessness and mental illness.
The order also incentives higher standards for use of force, including a system the president says will lead to banning choke holds, unless the officer’s life is at risk.
“We will have reform without undermining our many, and extremely talented, law enforcement officers,” Mr. Trump said.
On Capitol Hill lawmakers in both the House and Senate are working on competing police reform packages, with Democrats pushing for broader changes.
“It’s not a time where so many Americans feel a metaphorical knee on the neck of justice for us to pull our knee half way off of that neck and call it progress,” New Jersey Senator Cory Booker said.
The House is set to vote on its package as early as next week, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that bill is going nowhere.
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