WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump could take policy action on race and policing via an executive order, his spokesman told Fox News in an interview yesterday, as lawmakers in Congress move forward with their proposals.
“We do believe that we’ll have proactive policy prescriptions, whether that means legislation or an executive order,” White House spokesman Kayleigh McEnany said. She declined to offer specifics, saying the Republican President was still weighing various possibilities.
The potential for executive action comes as both Democrats and Republicans in Congress push forward with proposals aimed at addressing police reform amid massive protests sparked by last month’s death of Mr George Floyd, a black man, after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck.
House Democrats on Monday unveiled a sweeping Bill that would ban chokeholds, require body cameras for federal law enforcement officers and restrict the use of lethal force, among other steps, while Senate Republicans on Tuesday said they were working on their own proposal.
Mr Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary for Homeland Security, declined to provide details about what action Mr Trump is considering.
“You will see a mix of legislative proposals that we can work on a bipartisan basis, just like the President did with criminal justice reform, and executive actions he can take on his own,” Mr Cuccinelli told Fox Business Network.
Mr Trump signed bipartisan legislation in 2018 that changed sentencing requirements and the treatment of federal prisoners.
In New York, lawmakers have voted to repeal a decades-old law that shields police officers’ disciplinary records from the public.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted that he will sign the Bill into law this week amid nationwide protests against police brutality.
The Bill is part of a package of police reform measures advanced by the Democrats-controlled Assembly and Senate in Albany this week amid the massive protests.
On Monday, the New York legislature also voted to ban the use by police of chokeholds. The practice had come under intense condemnation when an African-American man, Mr Eric Garner, died after a white New York City police officer used a chokehold on him during a 2014 arrest.
STOPPING BAD ACTORS
The legislation that will be passed over the coming days will help stop bad actors and send a clear message that brutality, racism and unjustified killings will not be tolerated.
NEW YORK SENATE MAJORITY LEADER ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS, in a statement.
Advocates for police accountability have long been pushing for the repeal of the contentious section of New York’s Civil Rights Law 50-a, which prevented disclosure to the public of the disciplinary records of police officers.
“The legislation that will be passed over the coming days will help stop bad actors and send a clear message that brutality, racism and unjustified killings will not be tolerated,” New York Senate majority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said in a statement.
New York police unions have called the legislation an attack on police. “The message has been sent very clearly to police officers by our elected officials: ‘We don’t like you’,” Mr Richard Wells, president of the statewide union the Police Conference of New York, told reporters on Tuesday. “We don’t respect you. We will not support you. We want you to go away.”
He said the repeal of 50-a would enable criminal defence attorneys to cite old complaints against an officer in court to undermine the officer’s testimony.
Besides voting on 50-a, lawmakers will also vote on a Bill that would require state police officers to wear body cameras. Other law enforcement Bills passed on Monday included legislation to require the courts to compile and publish racial and demographic data on low-level offenders.