Bipartisan Police Reform Negotiations Collapse in U.S. Congress

Bipartisan negotiations in the United States Congress over a police reform bill sparked by the murder of George Floyd have collapsed without plans to move ahead.

Democratic Senator Cory Booker and Congresswoman Karen Bass announced on Sept. 22 that the bipartisan negotiations for federal police reforms have ended due to not being able to agree on a few crucial issues in the bill.

In a statement, Bass said that she and Booker engaged with all parties and accepted significant compromises “but every time, more was demanded to the point that there would be no progress made in the bill that we were left discussing.”

Booker said in a separate statement that “there was still too wide a gulf with our negotiating partners and we faced significant obstacles to securing a bipartisan deal” even with the compromises and law enforcement support.

One of the issues the negotiating team could not agree on was the Democratic proposal to reform qualified immunity, which shields police officers from civil liability for misconduct.

Booker told reporters that they also could not agree on transparency within police departments and how to collect data on the use of force.

Meanwhile, Republican Senator Tim Scott, whom Booker and Bass have been working with, blamed Democrats for the collapse of the bill.

“After months of making progress, I am deeply disappointed that Democrats have once again squandered a crucial opportunity to implement meaningful reform,” Scott said in a statement.

However, in a statement addressing the collapse of the negotiations, President Joe Biden said Senate Republicans “rejected enacting modest reforms.”

Biden further said his administration will “continue to consult with the civil rights and law enforcement communities, as well as victims’ families to define a path forward.”

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