Washington, D.C. — Today, two years after George Floyd was murdered by police officers in Minneapolis, sparking a national movement to end police violence against Black people, the Biden administration issued an executive order on police reform. Patrick Gaspard, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement in response:
Today is a painful day. Our thoughts are with George Floyd’s loved ones, who lost a father, grandfather, son, and friend to senseless police violence two years ago. We also grieve with the countless other people across the country who have lost someone close to them to police violence.
This executive order, signed in the presence of Floyd’s family members and police officials, represents the most substantial federal action on police reform and accountability since Floyd’s murder two years ago. By signing this executive order—which will instruct federal law enforcement agencies to change their use-of-force policies, create national standards for the accreditation of police departments, and establish a registry for officers who engage in misconduct—the Biden administration is taking an important first step in strengthening police accountability, improving public safety, and building trust with Black and Hispanic communities that have faced the brunt of systemic police violence and misconduct. At the same time, we need to go further.
The administration’s authority is limited to federal law enforcement. It should also use its grant-making authority to the fullest extent to influence state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to align their policies with federal standards. States and cities should build on these actions and pass comprehensive statewide legislation; enhance data collection and reporting; and directly change harmful and racially disparate policies. It is also incumbent on Congress to do its part by passing comprehensive legislation that creates meaningful accountability and restores trust between police and the communities they serve. All of this and more is needed to increase police transparency and accountability, confront systemic racism, and prioritize community-based solutions to public safety.
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