President Biden signed an executive order today intended to improve accountability within police agencies across America.
The order was signed on the second anniversary of the death of George Floyd, who was killed by police in Minnesota in 2020.
Biden was joined by Vice President Kamala Harris and family members of Floyd in the audience.
The executive order has a limited effect, primarily impacting federal law enforcement agencies. According to the White House, the order includes a provision that requires a database which would track misconduct by police officers — an action civil rights activists have long sought after. It’s unclear if the database would be accessible to the public.
Biden, in his comments, admitted the changes to police standards and policies appeared to be slow and “frustrating.” His words today reflected the challenges ahead with congressional leaders divided on ways to address racism and excessive use of force by police officers.
Opinion: Biden’s executive order should not be dismissed as inaction by leadership. Congress remains divided mostly along party lines with far-right Republicans unlikely to budge on passing broader policies that would impact local law enforcement agencies, which are the larger issue with community policing. However, it is an executive order, and if a Republican is elected president in 2024, it is almost certain that executive order would be swiftly overturned. Pressure has to stay on Democrats and Republicans to change police policies.
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