On the Anniversary of George Floyd’s Death, Biden Is Set to Sign an Order on Police Reform


On Wednesday, May 25, two years after the killing of the unarmed Black father George Floyd by Minneapolis ex-policeman Derek Chauvin, President Joe Biden is expected to issue an executive order aimed at reforming police departments across the country.

The order will direct federal law enforcement agencies to revise their use-of-force policies and to restrict tactics like chokeholds and no-knock warrants, the latter of which played a part in the police killing of Black medical worker Breonna Taylor in Louisville mere months before Floyd’s death. Relatives of Floyd and Taylor are expected to attend the signing ceremony, along with the families of others killed by police.

As of now, there exists no national registry of police officers fired for misconduct. The legislation that Biden is expected to sign on Wednesday would correct that problem, along with restricting the transfer of most military equipment to police. The executive order would also require the activation of body-worn cameras during arrests and searches, ideally leading to increased transparency in police encounters with civilians.

While no piece of legislation, federal or otherwise, can restore the lives of Floyd, Taylor, or any of the other victims of racist U.S. policing (which has been shown to affect Black people twice as often as white people), Biden’s executive order could hopefully work to reduce the degree and severity of police brutality, an epidemic that has taken far too many lives. “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,” N.A.A.C.P. president Derrick Johnson told the New York Times on Wednesday.

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