Biden signs executive order on policing 2 years after George Floyd’s death

Washington — President Biden is set to sign an executive order to reform federal police practices and establish a national database of police misconduct on Wednesday, two years to the day since George Floyd was murdered at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis.

The president will sign the order and deliver remarks at 4 p.m. ET at the White House, as the nation grieves the murder of 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Texas, the deadliest school shooting in nearly 10 years. Mr. Biden addressed the massacre in an emotional speech on Wednesday night, imploring Congress to pass “common-sense” gun laws to prevent future mass shootings.

The policing order is intended to “advance effective, accountable policing and criminal justice practices that will build public trust and strengthen public safety,” according to the White House, by requiring federal law enforcement agencies to implement several reforms and incentivizing state and local forces to improve their policing practices.

Efforts to enact police reform in Congress have stalled in the two years since Floyd’s death sparked a national reckoning on police brutality, with a bipartisan group of lawmakers failing to broker a compromise during lengthy negotiations last year. Mr. Biden’s order seeks to address some of the issues raised during those talks, although his authority to implement changes on a state and local level is limited without further congressional action.

Wednesday’s order directs the attorney general to create a new National Law Enforcement Accountability Database, with all federal law enforcement agencies — such as the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Secret Service and Customs and Border Protection — required to participate. The database will include records of officers convicted of crimes, firings and “sustained complaints or records of disciplinary actions for serious misconduct,” among other issues, and will be available to state and local agencies.

Non-federal entities are not required to report misconduct incidents to the new database, but are “encouraged” to do so, according to the White House.

The order also strengthens federal “patterns and practices” investigations over local agencies, mandates the use of body cameras by federal agents and requires all federal law enforcement agencies to implement new use-of-force policies, consistent with new guidelines issued by the Justice Department earlier this week. It also bans the use of chokeholds and limits the use of “no-knock” warrants by federal agents.

On Tuesday, Democratic lawmakers and police reform advocates welcomed news of the executive order, even though it falls short of what could be accomplished with new legislation.

“I think the president’s team — using the powers that he has — [has] done an excellent job of advancing the call that I think all Americans feel to do everything you can to improve the policing profession, to empower our officers with both accountability and support,” Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey told CBS News.

NAACP President Derrick Johnson welcomed the executive order and said there was no better way to honor Floyd’s legacy. “We know full well that an executive order cannot address America’s policing crisis the same way Congress has the ability to, but we’ve got to do everything we can,” he said in a statement.

Jack Turman, Kristin Brown, Nikole Killion and Robert Legare contributed reporting.

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