House and Senate Democrats Unveil Sweeping Police Reform Bill
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State and local lawmakers are using the power of legislation to respond to George Floyd's death.
The city council of Minneapolis is talking about dismantling the police department, while in Washington, House and Senate Democrats unveiled a sweeping police and criminal justice reform package Monday morning.
With growing calls from protesters and groups like Black Lives Matter to defund the police, Minneapolis is the first city laying out a plan to do so.
"Our commitment is to end our city's toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department, to end policing as we know it," said one Minneapolis protester over the weekend.
The city council's proposed plan would divert funding over the next year from the city's police department to community-led public safety initiatives.
"It is your voice, your fight that got us to this point," said City Council member Jeremiah Ellison.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced similar plans although the state's Governor Andrew Cuomo questions that move given recent looting in the Big Apple.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf calls the whole idea of defunding the police "absurd".
"It makes no sense to me. I think it's a very political statement to make, but it does not protect our communities at the end of the day," Wolf told ABC News.
House and Senate Democrats are taking action from the federal level through a historic police reform bill.
"Today with the Justice in Policing Act the Congress is standing with those fighting for justice and taking action," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday.
Democratic lawmakers took a knee before introducing what they say is a long-overdue response to racial injustices in law enforcement.
"It will combat police brutality by requiring body and dashboard cameras, banning choke-holds, no-knock warrants in drug cases and end racial profiling," continued Pelosi.
Around the country on Sunday, many Christians joined peaceful prayer walks and rallies happening coast to coast.
"We ask Father God in the mighty name of Jesus that the people of Washington, they kneel down, too, because we know at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and confess that Jesus is Lord," prayed one attendee who gathered in a crowd in Washington.
Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) joined the crowd of Christians in D.C. Sunday afternoon saying he was there because he believes black lives matter.
In response to the protests, Republican Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) re-introduced the George Floyd-Walter Scott Notification Act he first proposed in 2015 after the death of Walter Scott, which would require states that receive federal funding for law enforcement to report specific details of people who die from encounters with the police.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled last week "there may be a role" federal lawmakers should play in police reform.
"We'll be talking to our colleagues about what, if anything, is appropriate for us to do," McConnell told reporters last Tuesday.
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