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President Biden pushes lawmakers for more police accountability

An executive order issued by Biden enacted parts of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, but the president is calling on lawmakers to pass further legislation.

MINNEAPOLIS — When George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, a cry went up, calling for police reform. Now three years later, President Biden is still pushing for those changes. 

On May 25, three years after Floyd's death, Biden issued a statement lauding his administration's progress on police reform after signing an executive order in 2022 that enacted elements of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

The legislation passed in the House in March 2021, but it was waylaid in the Senate.

Elements of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act that went into effect with Biden's executive order were a ban on police using chokeholds, restrictions on no-knock warrants, and the establishment of a database to keep track of reports of police misconduct. 

But while the President celebrated the progress made in police reform so far, he tasked Congress with implementing "real and lasting change" at the state and local levels.

"I will sign it. I will continue to do everything in my power to fight for police accountability in Congress, and I remain willing to work with Republicans and Democrats alike on genuine solutions," Biden wrote. 

Thursday's call for action echoed statements the president made during the State of the Union address in February, where he called for Congress to "finish the job on police reform." 

In that speech, Biden spoke on issues of policing, pushing for more training and gun violence prevention resources and said that "when police officers or departments violate the public's trust, they must be held accountable."

Locally, Governor Tim Walz signed a proclamation declaring Thursday George Floyd Remembrance Day, a time to honor Floyd and "every person whose life has been cut short due to systems of racism and discrimination in Minnesota."

"We have more work to do to ensure that every person in Minnesota is safe, valued, and protected. We owe that much to Mr. Floyd, and we owe that much to each other," Walz tweeted.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who was leading the city at the time of Floyd's murder, released a statement saying in part, "in the three years since Mr. Floyd was murdered by a former MPD officer, our city has called out for change, and rightly so. We have confronted the reality that our Black and Brown communities have faced unjust discrimination at the hands of those who are sworn to protect and serve."

"We are shifting the culture of our police department – to ensure that our officers strengthen and hold the trust of our entire community," Frey added. This work has been ongoing for the past few years and will continue for years to come."

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