President Joe Biden signed an executive order aimed at reforming policing and criminal justice practices Wednesday.
The signing comes on the two-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd in police custody and is the administration’s second option after continued disagreements among lawmakers sunk the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. (RELATED: ‘A Punch In The Gut’: Van Jones Calls Derek Chauvin Sentence ‘Very Disappointing’)
In September 2021, the president vowed to consider using executive action after the George Floyd bill failed.
“I don’t know any good cop who likes a bad cop,” Biden said just prior to signing his executive order Wednesday. “But for many people, including many families here, such accountability is all too rare.”
“Some ask why I haven’t done this executive order earlier. If I had done it, I was worried it would undercut the effort to get the law passed,” Biden added, referring to the George Floyd bill, which he referenced multiple times in his remarks.
Biden’s executive order focuses on federal law enforcement groups and doesn’t apply to local agencies – though it includes incentives for local police departments to change various, often controversial tactics like chokeholds.
Under the order, federal law enforcement agencies will be banned from using chokeholds “unless deadly force is authorized,” according to the White House. No-knock warrants will also face new restrictions.
“The EO [executive order] orders all Federal LEAs [law enforcement agencies] to adopt policies that ban chokeholds and carotid restraints unless deadly force is authorized and restricts the use of no knock entries to a limited set of circumstances, such as when an announced entry would pose an imminent threat of physical violence,” the White House noted in a fact sheet.
Federal law enforcement agencies will also have to participate in “a new national database of police misconduct” and new standards will be implemented regarding use of force. The database will track officer misconduct and disciplinary records, and federal agencies will be required to refer to it amid the hiring process.
Local agencies have the option of using and adding to the list, according to the White House.
I’ve called on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, but Senate Republicans have stood in the way of progress. That’s why this afternoon, I’m taking action and signing an Executive Order that delivers the most significant police reform in decades.
— President Biden (@POTUS) May 25, 2022
“The EO orders all Federal LEAs to adopt use of force policies with requirements that meet or exceed those in the Department of Justice’s updated use-of-force policy, which authorizes force only when no reasonably effective, safe, and feasible alternative appears to exist; authorizes deadly force only when necessary; and emphasizes de-escalation,” the White House fact sheet reads.
Biden’s executive order doesn’t stop at new rules and regulations. It also aims to provide law enforcement with better training, including an “annual anti-bias training requirement.” As for the criminal justice system at large, the executive order seeks to improve confinement conditions and “directs a government-wide strategic plan to propose interventions to reform our criminal justice system,” according to the White House.
“This executive order is going to deliver the most significant police reform in decades,” Biden vowed, summing up the order as one that “promotes accountability” and “raises standards.”