U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) is implying that President Joe Biden’s executive order on police accountability is part plagiarism and part pandering.
In a statement released Wednesday, Scott recalled how Democrats filibustered his police reform bill using the parliamentary procedure that they now condemn.
“After the radical ‘defund the police’ movement helped create the current crime wave, President Biden is pursuing a partisan approach to many of the exact same policy solutions I proposed in the JUSTICE Act just two year[s] ago. The fact is Democrats used a filibuster they call racist to block my reforms that they’re now embracing,” Scott said in a statement.
“While my proposal added funding to help local law enforcement comply with higher standards, the Democrats’ proposal sets departments up for failure by issuing unfunded federal mandates. Making it harder for police to do their jobs to the best of their ability should be a nonstarter, yet that’s exactly what the Biden plan does. I’m disappointed that the president who campaigned on unity has once again fallen into the trap of divisive politics,” Scott added.
Signed on the two-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis, the very lengthy executive order, among other things, creates a national database to track police misconduct. “The executive order raises standards, bans chokeholds, restricts no-knock warrants, tightens use-of-force policies to emphasize de-escalation and the duty to intervene to stop another officer from using excessive force” in addition to “modernizing policing,” and requiring feds to wear body cams, Biden said at a White House ceremony.
The executive order “applies directly, under law, to only 100,000 federal law enforcement officers — all the federal law enforcement officers. And though federal incentives and best practices they’re attached to, we expect the order to have significant impact on state and local law enforcement agencies as well,” Biden noted.
He described the grandiose Executive Order on Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety as “a measure of what we can do together to heal the very soul of this nation.”
During the same ceremony on Wednesday, Biden and VP Kamala Harris lamented how Senate Republicans rejected the more radical George Floyd Justice in Policing Act while omitting mention that their own party rejected Scott’s legislation.
‘You’re saying Senator Booker can’t read?’ Tim Scott gets heat for failed police reform after Dems walk https://t.co/ilb9fPVfLP pic.twitter.com/ol4aymXBja
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) September 27, 2021
Whether or not imitation is the sincerest form of flattery in this particular context, the senator’s statement outlined the ways the Biden EO addressed policing issues that were contained in the Scott-sponsored JUSTICE Act bill that the Democrats blocked:
Sec. 301 – Required local police to maintain a system for sharing police disciplinary records
Sec. 106 – Increased penalties for all law enforcement officers who intentionally submits a false police report in connection
JUSTICE Act Title II – Incentivized body-worn camera use for local law enforcement, and provided penalties for non-compliance
Sec. 105 – Incentivized the banning of chokeholds by local law enforcement
Sec. 106 – Required DoJ to develop training standards on in alternatives to use of force, de-escalation tactics, and techniques for responding to a behavioral health crisis
Sec. 801 – Provided grants for improved recruitment and hiring
Sec. 901 – Required new best practices on fair and effective policing tactics and procedures
Sec. 101 – Tracked use of force or serious bodily injury incident data
“Some police groups celebrated Biden’s order as a ‘blueprint” for further Congressional action, while others dismissed it as ‘political theater’ and faulted it for ‘opaqueness,'” Fox News reported.
Last month, RNC official Paris Dennard told Fox News that “If the Biden/Harris administration and the Democrats that control the House and the Senate really cared about police reform, they would have gotten something done in the past two years, and they have not done that, on top of the fact that Sen. Cory Booker walked away from negotiating table with Sen. Tim Scott, the Republican of South Carolina, when it came to police reform. So they have not held up their end of the bargain on doing something about that.”
Setting aside the politicized, ideological debate, reasonable people can probably agree that some additional aspects of police reform would be beneficial.
For example, use-of-force guideline revisions to some extent may be appropriate, as Sen. Scott has suggested. Police overtime abuse is a major issue in some jurisdictions (especially where it is included in the pension calculation.) Union interference with police management might need to be addressed. Training and physical fitness requirements could also be upgraded, especially when some cops wind up looking like the Pillsbury Doughboy or girl.
Tubby Texas state troopers hit with new waistline requirements, have until December to shape up https://t.co/0dGzzv1VRO pic.twitter.com/wVGdtWDzk7
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) April 20, 2022
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