IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

White House backs police reform bill named after George Floyd

The House passed a version of the bill in 2020, but it died in the then-Republican controlled Senate
Image: Joe Biden
President Joe Biden holds speaks during an event at the White House to commemorate the 50 millionth Covid-19 vaccination on Feb. 25, 2021.Evan Vucci / AP

The Biden administration on Monday threw its support behind a police reform bill pending in the House that would ban chokeholds and overhaul qualified immunity protections for law enforcement.

"To make our communities safer, we must begin by rebuilding trust between law enforcement and the people they are entrusted to serve and protect. We cannot rebuild that trust if we do not hold police officers accountable for abuses of power and tackle systemic misconduct – and systemic racism – in police departments," the White House said in a statement urging the passage of H.R. 1280, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

The legislation is named after the Minnesota man who died on May 25 of last year after an officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes despite his pleas for help.

The bill would ban all neck restraints, including chokeholds and the kind used on Floyd as well as no-knock warrants in drug cases, as was used in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, last March.

“The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will address systemic racism, curb police brutality and save lives. This legislation includes bold reforms, which ban chokeholds, stop no-knock warrants, end the court-created qualified immunity doctrine, combat racial profiling, and establish strong new standards and protections to prevent and combat police misconduct," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement last week.

A version of the bill was passed largely along partisan lines after Floyd's death last year, but it stalled in the Senate, which was then under Republican control. The bill is likely to still face a tough time in the Democratic-controlled Senate because it will need at least 10 Republican votes to be passed.

"The administration encourages the House to pass this legislation, and looks forward to working with the Congress to enact a landmark policing reform law," the White House statement Monday said.