A demonstrator holds a sign while gathering with others during a protest against racial inequality in the aftermath of the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in front of the at Grand Army Plaza in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S. June 7, 2020. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. congressional Democrats on Monday plan to unveil a sweeping package of legislation to combat police violence and racial injustice, after two weeks of protests across the nation sparked by George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody.
The proposal is expected to ban police chokeholds and racial profiling, require nationwide use of body cameras, subject police to civilian review boards and abolish the legal doctrine known as qualified immunity, which protects police from civil litigation, according to congressional sources.
“It is time for police culture in many departments to change,” Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Representative Karen Bass, told CNN on Sunday.
She added that she hoped the wave of largely peaceful protests seen across the United States over the past two weeks would increase pressure on lawmakers to act.
“We’re in a real moment in our country, the passion that the people are displaying,” Bass added. “That it is going to lay the basis for the momentum for us to bring about the change that we need to do.”
House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Kamala Harris along with Bass are expected to discuss the bill at a 10:30 a.m. ET (1430 GMT) briefing.
It is unclear if the proposal will receive support from Republicans, who control the U.S. Senate. Their support and that of Republican President Donald Trump would be needed for the measure to become law.
Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, where a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, was the latest in a string of killings of black men and women by U.S. police that have sparked anger on America’s streets and fresh calls for reform.A Reuters investigation published last month revealed how qualified immunity here, refined over the years by the U.S. Supreme Court, has made it easier for cops to kill or injure civilians with impunity.
Reporting by David Morgan, additional reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Scott Malone and Lisa Shumaker