Indiana civil rights activists disappointed as Congress ends police reform talks

INDIANAPOLIS – Several civil rights activists in Indiana say they are disappointed congressional negotiators have ended discussions on a police reform bill.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act was passed by the House earlier this year, but lawmakers were unable to come to an agreement to pass it through the Senate.

“We had high hopes that there would be meaningful legislation coming out of Washington,” said Barbara Bolling-Williams, NAACP president at the Indiana State Conference.

Bolling-Williams said she was “disappointed” that federal lawmakers failed to reach agreement on a police reform bill.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would have banned strangulations, ended arrest warrants in federal drug investigations, and created a national database of police misconduct.

Lawmakers have been unable to make progress on sticking points like qualified immunity.

“Reform is still needed,” Bolling-Williams said. “Everything that has happened so far has been good steps, first steps forward. “

Earlier this year, Indiana passed its own police reform law, which prohibits strangulation in certain situations, requires de-escalation training for officers, and reduces the burden of proof for the force training board. state order to withdraw an agent’s certification for malpractice.

Senator Mike Braun (R-Indiana) said he believes it should be up to the states to create these kinds of laws.

“We did it here in Indiana with all the police departments on board to do common sense things, and it should be done at the state level, not the national level,” Braun said.

Others say they would still like federal lawmakers to pass police reform legislation, and some think they should look to Indiana law as a model.

“I think we’re really trying to solve the problems, and it’s done in a bipartisan fashion,” said Reverend Charles Harrison, chairman of the board of the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition. “I just think Washington has to do it in a bipartisan way.”

Some say they are hoping to see Indiana lawmakers extend this law in the next session as activists look to state and local governments for reform.

“I know other states and branches of the NAACP are moving in this direction in trying to get qualified immunity supported at the state level,” said Roderick Bohannan, chairman of the branch’s legal recourse committee. of Indianapolis NAACP.

“It will continue to be city by city, county by county, state by state,” he added.

In a statement, President Joe Biden said he still hopes Congress will be able to pass a police reform bill at some point and does not rule out taking executive action.

We have contacted other members of our delegation to Congress to get their views on the end of the negotiations.

I am disappointed that the Senate negotiations on police reform have stalled. Hoosiers know this is an extremely high priority in our communities and across America, and passing legislation will save countless lives. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which the House has twice passed, is a common sense bill that helps hold police accountable but also allows them to do their jobs better. It is unfortunate that blind partisanship has prevented many Republicans from giving our bill the attention it deserves. We need to move this policy change forward as soon as possible, and in honor of all the lives lost due to police misconduct.

Congressman André Carson (D-Indiana)

I support our law enforcement and am committed to supporting good policies that provide resources for more training, community services and increased wages. Supporting our police should be a bipartisan issue. While I am disappointed that these discussions have ceased, our state legislatures also have the capacity to lead these reforms. I’m proud to say that the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation earlier this year that received incredible support from Republicans and Democrats.

Congressman Jim Baird (R-Indiana)

Hoosier officers regularly reiterate their commitment to protecting our communities and upholding our laws; they want good police services everywhere and believe that thoughtful reform can provide the resources they need to face the challenges they face on a daily basis. Politicians should put aside their partisan priorities and focus on serious solutions, which requires working with law enforcement officials ready to provide input.

Representative Trey Hollingsworth (R-Indiana)

I am committed to supporting members of the law enforcement community, making sure they have the resources they need to do their job properly to keep us safe. Our men and women in blue are doing a thankless job and making great sacrifices – which is why I am absolutely opposed to ending qualified immunity.

Representative Greg Pence (R-Indiana)

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