House Speaker Nancy Pelosion Friday stood by her controversial comments that Republicans were trying to get away with “murder” by resisting Democrats’ police reform legislation and then asserted the House’s policing legislation that passed Thursday could have savedGeorge Floyd’s life.
“I think George Floyd’s murder would have been prevented if our bill that we have now were the law of the land,” Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol during her press conference.
Pelosi’s statement came after a reporter called out her comments Tuesday to CBS News Radio where she blasted the GOP police reform legislation in the wake of Floyd’s in-custody death in Minneapolis as “unsalvageable” and said Republicans are “trying to get away with murder, actually— the murder of George Floyd.” The reporter noted that Pelosi has condemned President Trump’s rhetoric in the past and asked if her murder remarks went too far.
“I do not,” Pelosi said, making the case that policing legislation is a matter of life and death.
“Policy has an impact,” Pelosi said. “And we can prevent future deaths if we ban the chokeholds. I’m fully committed to that.”
Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck fornearly eight minutes. Chauvin and the three other officers involved were fired and criminally charge, as Floyd’s death, caught on video, sparked a nationwide outcry.
TheHouse Thursday passedthe Justice in Policing Act that would outlaw chokeholds — including the kind Chauvin used — reform qualified immunity that can protect police officers from civil lawsuits, create a national database of police conduct and lower the bar for police officers to face criminal prosecution. Pelosi and other Democrats have been very critical of the GOP proposal in the Senate that didn’t go as far in outlawing chokeholds and ending qualified immunity.
Senate Democrats Wednesday blocked the GOP police reform bill that would have incentivized state and local police departments to make changes. The failure of the GOP bill to even advance to debate set off a furious war of words on the floor.
While protesters, civil rights activists and lawmakers all say they want change, the police reform effort in Washington is now at an impasse.