The House voted Wednesday to dismantle a Washington, D.C. police reform law passed after George Floyd’s death. Fourteen Democrats joined Republicans to pass the bill. Unfortunately, there is no chance Joe Biden will sign it.
Republicans say the reform opens police officers up to public harassment and physical danger.
Lawmakers passed the resolution disapproving the D.C. Council’s law, the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Emergency Amendment Act, in a 229-189 vote.
- The D.C. law bans chokeholds, releases bodycam footage after violent incidents, and publicizes disciplinary records of police, opening them up to public harassment.
- Neck restraints are out, but they are an effective way to restrain a perpetrator or suspect. How are the police supposed to restrain criminals?
- It will become difficult for police to access riot gear and tear gas. Republicans believe it creates a dangerous situation for the police.
- Instead of “biased-based policing,” they inserted the phrase “biased-based policing, racism, and white supremacy” in its place. It’s deliberately anti-white and opens up white officers to harassment on nebulous complaints.
- It limits “the use of force and employing de-escalation tactics.” This is vague, but it will put the police in a position of no one having their back if someone decides from their armchair that officers used force too quickly.
- “All other options have been exhausted or do not reasonably lend themselves to the circumstances.”
Seriously, are they supposed to try to deal with armed criminals by using every option imaginable?
- If they don’t report some alleged misbehavior by a colleague, they could be in trouble.
- “The duty of a sworn officer to report, and the method for reporting, suspected misconduct or excessive use of force by a law enforcement official that a sworn member observes or that comes to the sworn member’s attention, as well as any governing District laws and regulations and Department written directives.”
- They’re establishing a civilian review board that could make policing more difficult. It makes it too political. The mayor would appoint three members.
- The Act puts severe limitations on searches.
- And, of course, more training, training, training.
The GOP also says the rules are so restrictive they have led to a wave of resignations in the district.
“The D.C. police department has seen over 1,190 police officers leave the force since the beginning of 2020,” said House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., during a floor debate, as reported by Fox News. “That’s about one-third of the D.C. police department. Nearly 40% of those officers resigned. That means they chose to leave the department instead of dealing with the increasingly impossible burdens placed on them by the council. Since then, crime has been soaring in the district.”
“Officers are expressing their great concern with their feet and are leaving faster than they can be replaced. The DC police force has been depleted to an astonishing half-century low,” added Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., who sponsored the resolution disapproving of the D.C. law.
Democrats think they are minimal reforms because they don’t have to deal with harassment by the public, and are sympathetic to armed criminals.