Despite the fact that Democrats had made great concessions, Republicans thwarted efforts to pass criminal justice reform legislation. The police are calling them out for their poor handling of the legislation, which is a sign of how absurd the Republican position was.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACPO) and the National Fraternal Order of Police (NFOP) released Tuesday's joint statement slamming Trump without naming them.
Despite media reports to the contrary, no legislative draft proposed 'defunding police'. In fact, the legislation provided additional funding for law enforcement agencies to help with training, accreditation and data collection. We believe that the current provisions would have strengthened law enforcement and improved community police engagement, without compromising officers' rights, authority, or legal protections.
Although the statement criticizes the claims made in media reports, it is actually a swipe at Senate Republicans led by Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina who blocked the bill on grounds that it allegedly defunded police. This line of reasoning was flawed. Scott had actually once supported the idea of "defunding" police. The episode also shows how Republicans don't have any interest in making police safer.
The Fraternal Order for Police, a police organization that backed Donald Trump in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, tends to be right-wing and fiercely defend policies that protect law enforcement officers from being held responsible for misuse of power. The Fraternal Order of Police opposed a provision that would have ended qualified immunity. This policy protects public officials and police officers from civil lawsuits.
Scott objected to the legislation because one of the policies that ties federal grant funding and police department compliance with policies such as chokehold bans or the elimination of "no knock" warrants amounted "defunding of the police". This is a policy paradigm which calls for cutting police budgets to fund alternative law enforcement.
Scott's objection was made more absurd by the fact that he had called for it in 2020, Jonathan Chait, New York magazine, recently pointed out. Scott discusses criminal justice reform in this video with PBS, June 2020.
Judy Woodruff, Senator: As you know, Democrats want to ban certain measures like the choke hold and no-knock warrant.Sen. Tim Scott: Yes.Judy Woodruff. In your proposal, it states that these items should be tied to federal funding so that departments don't lose funding if they go ahead with them. Tim Scott: Yes.
Scott saw federal funding being conditional last year as a promising reform tool. He decided this year that it was a policy straight from the police abolition playbook.
Scott's decision to change his policy after police agencies saw an opportunity to block a defanged reform bill, is what explained this? Like so many policy fronts, Republicans excel in registering complaints but have no real interest or responsibility for governance and reform. They value their reputation of unconditional support for American police -- regardless how detrimental it may be for large swathes of the population -- more than any reputation as good-faith legislators.