The District of Columbia’s police reform bill will remain in effect thanks to a veto by President Joe Biden.
Biden vetoed a congressional effort to overturn the bill on Thursday, which is the three-year anniversary of George Floyd‘s murder at the hands of police officer Derek Chauvin.
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“This morning, the president also vetoed a congressional Republican-led disapproval resolution that would have nullified crucial police reforms, many enacted in the District of Columbia on an emergency basis in 2020, after George Floyd’s murder,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “[These include] banning chokeholds, setting important restrictions on use of force and deadly force, improving access to body-worn camera recordings, and requiring officer training on de-escalation and use of force.”
The district council passed the reforms last year, but all local legislation in Washington is subject to congressional oversight. The Republican-led House passed a disapproval resolution in April, and Senate Republicans forced a vote in the upper chamber as well, sending the resolution to the president’s desk.
Biden vowed to veto the bill and chose the symbolically important anniversary of Floyd’s murder to follow through. The murder set off nationwide protests in the summer of 2020, along with widespread calls for police reform.
“The president has repeatedly said we have an obligation to make sure that all people, all Americans, are safe and that public safety depends on public trust,” Jean-Pierre said. “It is a core policy of this administration to provide law enforcement the resources they need for effective, accountable community policing.”
Several of those reforms focus on prohibiting the use of neck restraints, increasing access to body camera footage, and revising officer discipline procedures. They will now remain in effect in the district.
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After the veto, Biden called on Congress to pass a different bill, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which enacts further police reforms at the state and local levels.
“It is up to Congress to send this bill to his desk, and once they do, he will sign the law,” Jean-Pierre said.