House’s George Floyd bill praised by family attorney, but activists push back

Drug Policy Alliance officials maintain the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act 'fails to provide for real reform.'

The United States House of Representatives has passed an ambitious bill aimed at overhauling policing nationwide. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act was approved 220-112 Wednesday, with one Republican voting for it: Texas Rep. Lance Gooden said he pressed the wrong button and voted for the act accidentally. 

Also notable: The bill passed the House on the 30th anniversary of the videotaped beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles Police officers on March 3, 1991. 

Attendees hold images of George Floyd as they participate in last year’s March on Washington at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The Floyd Act would ban chokeholds and “qualified immunity” for police officers, which currently prevents them from being held accountable for their actions financially. It would also create national standards for policing. 

Attorneys Benjamin Crump and Antonio Romanucci, who represent the Floyd family, issued a statement supporting the passage of the reform. 

Read More: Dems narrowly pass George Floyd Justice Policing Act with Biden’s backing

“On behalf of the family of George Floyd, we are deeply gratified and grateful for the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives in passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, responding to the mandate issued by thousands of Americans who took to the streets last summer to raise their voices for change,” the statement reads. 

“This represents a major step forward to reform the relationship between police officers and communities of color and impose accountability on law enforcement officers whose conscious decisions preserve the life or cause the death of Americans, including so many people of color,” they continue. “Now we urge the Senate to follow suit and send this important legislation to President Biden.”

Read More: Judge rules only one George Floyd family member can attend Chauvin trial

Some organizations, however, are pushing back, saying the legislation doesn’t go far enough. 

The Drug Policy Alliance says it “fails to provide for real reform and accountability, and we oppose this bill in its current form. Notably, this bill fails to fully address issues like police militarization and quick-knock raids, policing practices that are disproportionately used against people of color in drug investigations.” 

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“While the bill places restrictions on programs that facilitate the transfer of military equipment to local police departments, it does not outright put an end to such programs,” noted Maritza Perez, DPA’s director of the Office of National Affairs. “And while this bill prohibits no-knock warrants for drug cases, it does not outlaw quick-knock raids which can be just as deadly.”

“Moreover,” she added, “the bill continues to fund police departments and the war on drugs, rather than shift resources to education, housing, harm reduction services and other infrastructure that strengthens communities and increases public safety.”

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