On Wednesday (May 25), Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were joined by Rep. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Reverend Al Sharpton, and members of the families of both George Floyd and Breonna Taylor to sign the historic order. Biden’s signing of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act comes the day after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two adults were murdered.
“And we must ask: When in God’s name will we do what needs to be done to, if not completely stop, fundamentally change the amount of the carnage that goes on in this country?” asked POTUS before addressing the executive order at hand. He continued, “You know, where is the backbone? Where is the courage to stand up to a very powerful lobby?”
After confirming his move to installing new leadership at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Biden moved on to George Floyd.
“Vice President Harris and members of the Cabinet; members of the Congress; civil rights leaders; law enforcement officers and officials; distinguished guests, especially the families missing a piece of their soul, including the family sitting in front of me and the beautiful young girl who told me, ‘My daddy is going to change history.’ And he will, honey. He will. They’ve lost a piece of their soul two years ago as well,” expressed Biden. “But for many people, including many families here, such accountability is all too rare. That’s why I promised as President I would do everything in my power to enact meaningful police reform that is real and lasting.”
Measures in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act include a new national law enforcement accountability database to track records of misconduct, a mandate for all federal agents to wear and activate body cameras while on patrol, a ban on chokeholds, a restriction on no-knock warrants, the tightening of use-of-force policies to emphasize de-escalation and the duty to intervene to stop another officer, and a fresh approach to recruit, train, promote, and retain law enforcement that tied to advancing public safety and public trust.
“This executive order is going to deliver the most significant police reform in decades,” remarked Biden. “It applies directly, under law, to only 100,000 federal law enforcement officers — all the federal law enforcement officers. And though federal incentives and best practices they’re attached to, we expect the order to have significant impact on state and local law enforcement agencies as well.”
Watch Biden and Harris’ full remarks as broadcast by CBS News below.