George Floyd's death has reignited the long and frustrating push to reform a law enforcement system whose systemic flaws have been visible for years, Axios' Stef Kight and Sam Baker write.
- Why it matters: Solving these problems will require deep political, structural and cultural changes, experts and advocates say. But they point to a handful of specific policy changes that, while not a cure, would make a difference.
Allowing lawsuits: There’s a growing movement, across ideological lines, to end the legal doctrine known as "qualified immunity," which makes it all but impossible to successfully sue police officers.
- "I really do think that this doctrine is the cornerstone of our culture of near-zero accountability for law enforcement," said Jay Schweikert, a policy analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute.
Transparency: 23 states and Washington, D.C. do not publicly release disciplinary records for law enforcement officers — in some states, such as New York and California, all personnel files are confidential, according to a 2015 project by WNYC.
- There's no public register of officers who have been fired or forced to resign due to misconduct.
- New York is considering changes that would make more information public.
- And the San Francisco district attorney announced a resolution that would prevent the police and sheriff's department from hiring officers with a history of misconduct.
Limiting the use of force: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers called on lawmakers this week to pass a bill that would limit law enforcement's ability to use force.
- New Jersey's governor and state attorney general also announced they will expand the state's use-of-force database.
- Former President Obama urged all mayors to review use-of-force policies.
- Joe Biden has called for a federal ban on chokeholds.
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