Jun 26, 2020 - Politics & Policy

House Democrats pass police reform bill

Eric Garner's mother wears a face mask with the words "I can't breathe" printed on it

Gwen Carr, racial justice activist and mother of Eric Garner, at a press conference with House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) in Foley Square on June 2. Carr endorsed the bill on Thursday. Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images

The House passed Democrats' federal police reform bill by 236-181 on Thursday night.

Reality check: Democrats' proposed changes, which would be the biggest overhaul of federal policing laws in decades, face the threat of veto from the Trump administration.

The big picture: Senate Republicans and House Democrats proposed different plans to overhaul policing in the U.S., after weeks of protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing drove states to scale back the degree of force police officers can use on civilians.

  • The two bills share common ground, per the New York Times, including mandates for more law enforcement training, data collection and incentives to wear body cameras.
  • But, Democrats want to ban police chokeholds outright, while the Republican bill aims to condition federal funding on chokehold bans and calls for the attorney general to create new restrictions on the method, per the Times.

What they're saying: "The unjust killing of a loved one, especially at the hands of law enforcement, is a pain too many families have been forced to endure," the mothers of Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, as well as the father of John Crawford III, said in a joint statement on Thursday, endorsing House Democrats' bill.

  • "We are proud to support this effort because it's the right thing to do. From banning chokeholds to eliminating no-knock warrants, this bill will hold officers accountable to the communities they serve and compel them to have a guardian mentality, not a warrior mentality. In the valiant pursuit of justice, this is a strong step in the right direction."

Background: Eric Garner, an unarmed Black man who allegedly sold cigarettes outside a convenience store, died in 2014 after a New York Police Department officer restrained him in an illegal chokehold during arrest.

  • Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy, was fatally shot by a Cleveland patrol officer in 2014 after playing with an airsoft-style gun in a park.
  • John Crawford III, 22, was fatally shot by police at an Ohio Walmart in 2014 after a 911 caller reported that a man was waving a gun in the store, per AP.

Go deeper: The major police reforms that have been enacted since George Floyd's death

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