Calls for police reform: Biden to meet with Congressional Black Caucus

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden plans to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus amid renewed calls for police reform, The White House confirmed on Monday afternoon.

Rep. Steven Horsford, a Democrat from Nevada and the CBC chair, was outraged after The Memphis Police Department released videos Friday of the arrest and beating that resulted in the death of Tyre Nichols.

“We are calling on our colleagues in the House and Senate to jumpstart negotiations now and work with us to address the public health epidemic of police violence that disproportionately affects many of our communities,” Horsford said in a statement Sunday.

George Floyd’s death prompted Democrats to introduce The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in 2020 and 2021. The House passed it both times, but it died in the Senate. The legislation aimed to overhaul qualified immunity, which protects government officials from civil suits.

“I don’t know that there’s any law that can stop that evil that we saw that is just, I mean, just difficult to watch,” Rep. Jim Jordan, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, said during NBC’s “Meet the Press. “What strikes me is just the lack of respect for human life, so I don’t know that any law, any training, any reform is going to change. You know, they, this man was handcuffed. They continue to beat him.”

FILE - In this Monday, May 25, 2020, file frame from video provided by Darnella Frazier, a Minneapolis officer kneels on the neck of George Floyd, a handcuffed man who was pleading that he could not breathe, in Minneapolis. Police around the U.S. and law enforcement experts are broadly condemning the way Floyd, who died in police custody, was restrained by a Minneapolis officer who dug his knee into the man's neck. (Darnella Frazier via AP, File)

During the second anniversary of Floyd’s death, Biden issued an executive order that applied to federal agencies. He banned the use of chokeholds and carotid restraints, restricted the use of no-knock entries, and set up a database for misconduct.

The president’s executive orders do not apply to local law enforcement agencies.

After Nichols’ death, Memphis Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis fired five police officers and relieved one of duty. The five police officers were indicted. They were all members of the department’s “Scorpion” unit, which Davis announced on Saturday had been disbanded.

“Black communities deserve to feel safe — especially when interacting with those who’ve vowed to protect us,” Rep. Frederica Wilson wrote in a statement on Sunday.

Two Shelby County sheriff’s deputies and two Memphis Fire Department workers were also relieved of duty over their actions during Nichols’ arrest. Meanwhile, Nichols’ family was preparing for a funeral service Wednesday in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Congressional Black Caucus invited Nichols’ parents to attend Biden’s State of the Union address next week.

Torres contributed to this report from Miami.

About the Authors:

Ben Kennedy is an Emmy Award-winning Washington Bureau Chief for Local 10 News.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.