Donald Trump unveils police reform plan, bans chokehold except when cops' lives are at risk
The president also took a dig at his predecessor, Barack Obama, saying he had done nothing to fix the problem during his term
Days after he emphasized that his administration is dominating the streets with compassion in the wake of the protests against the death of George Floyd in police brutality, President Donald Trump came up with a police reform executive order. On Tuesday, June 16, the commander-in-chief unveiled the order, which includes setting up a register of bad actor cops and slammed predecessor Barack Obama accusing him of not doing something about it when in office. He was surrounded by a number of law-enforcement officials when signing the reform in the White House.
As per Trump’s new plan unveiled in Rose Garden, the policemen will be banned hereafter from using chokeholds except when their own lives are at a risk. It will also put a database in place whereby the police departments will track the officers who have been accused of using excessive force. The US has witnessed widespread protests in the wake of the death of Floyd who was pinned to the ground before a cop pressed his knee against his neck, leaving him gasping for breath. The incident sparked outrage after a video went viral showing the man’s agonizing last minutes. Recently, Trump said in an interview with Fox News that he thought "the concept of chokeholds sounds so innocent and so perfect" though added: “You have to be careful. With that being said, it would be, I think, a very good thing that, generally speaking, it should be ended.”
Trump, who did not mention Floyd or the dubious relations between the black people and the police, said the plan will increase “accountability” and “transparency” while still allowing the officers in uniform to carry out their jobs and safeguard communities. The president has been vocally criticizing the idea of defunding and disbanding the police departments, the demand for which has soared amid the nationwide protests, and has slammed the opponents on the issue.
The 74-year-old maverick leader also claimed the measures in the reform plan aim at weeding out the “tiny” amount of bad cops. “When you remove the police, you hurt those who have the least the most. Nobody needs a strong, trustworthy police more than those who live in distressed areas,” he said.
“Nobody is more opposed to the small number of bad police officers – and you have them. They’re very tiny. I use the word tiny, it’s a very small percentage – but you have them,” he added. “But nobody wants to get rid of them more than the overwhelming number of really good and great police officers.”
As the outrage over Floyd’s death continued, yet another incident of a colored person’s death in police action happened in Atlanta, Georgia. Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old father of four, was shot dead when he snatched a cop’s Taser and tried to flee when a couple of policemen tried to arrest him.
Trump’s order, which came days after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a comprehensive police reform package, did not impress House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who tweeted soon after the president’s Rose Garden event: “The President's Executive Order falls seriously short of what is required to combat the epidemic of racial injustice & police brutality that is murdering Black Americans. We must insist on the bold change found in the George Floyd #JusticeInPolicing Act promoting the Democrats bill, which was proposed last week.”
The plan will also see a co-responder program where social workers will be called to respond to a scene with cops in some cases, especially when it comes to dealing with homeless or citizens with mental ailment. There will also be police training in de-escalation tactics and rewarding departments in the form of grants.
Trump’s announcement on the executive order came after he met with the families of those who have fallen fatal to police brutality, including the family of Ahmaud Arbery, a young black American who was shot dead by two white men while jogging in Brunswick, Georgia, in February. Trump did not speak on ways to mend relations between the black community and white police officers that have plummeted over the years. He also said nothing about the Brooks killing incident. He, however, said rioting and looting will not be accepted.
“Law and order must be further restored nationwide, and your federal government is ready, willing and able to help,” Trump said.
'Obama, Biden never tried to fix the problem'
In his criticism of the previous administration, Trump said: “President Obama and Vice President Biden never even tried to fix this during their eight-year period. The reason they didn't try is because they had no idea how to do it – and it is a complex situation. Beyond the steps we are taking today, I am committed to working with Congress on additional measures.”
An official in the White House told the Daily Mail that Trump’s aim with the executive order is more about confronting police brutality without restricting them in the field.