President Trump says he will pursue an executive order to encourage police departments to meet key standards for the use of force. His announcement comes as he accuses Democrats of broadly branding police as the problem.
During a trip to Dallas on Thursday, Trump announced plans to reform police in an effort to reduce racial inequalities, including better training.
"We're working to finalize an executive order that will encourage police departments nationwide to meet the most current professional standards for the use of force, including tactics for de-escalation," said the president. "We'll not be defunding police if anything we are going the other route. We are going to make sure that our police are well trained, perfectly trained, they'll have the best equipment."
The president also slammed calls to defund the police, saying that would only make problems worse.
He said, "Unfortunately, there are some trying to stoke division and to push an extreme agenda, which we won't go for, that will produce only more poverty, more crime, more suffering. This includes radical efforts to defund, dismantle and disband the police. They want to get rid of the police forces, actually want to get rid of it. And that's what they want to do."
Ja'Ron Smith, a deputy assistant to the President, added the order would, "Focus on a couple of key issues, de-escalation, investing in training, creating more police-community relationships."
The president's comments come after nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis. Some argue for the elimination of police departments or stripping agencies of their funding.
On Capitol Hill, Senate Republicans are working on their own police reform bill which focuses on better training and includes a new national database to track potential police misconduct.
One sticking point is over the issue of qualified immunity which can protect police from civil lawsuits.
Democrats want to make it easier for individuals to sue police for damages, something the White House says will not be included in the Senate bill.
In testimony before lawmakers Wednesday, Floyd family attorney Ben Crump said Floyd's death shows the need for more police body cameras. He also pushed for limiting qualified immunity for police involved in the killing of African Americans.
"If there is no accountability, it will keep happening and we pray that George Floyd is the last one," said Crump. "If this great body does not act, it is going to happen again."
South Carolina's Sen. Tim Scott, the lone black Senate Republican, is leading the police reform effort, working with the White House. He said the measure is nearly done, and that he thinks a bill is possible.
"I've always said we're on different tracks. I think the tracks have common terrain but it's not necessary that we be on the same page on every aspect," Scott explained.
Meanwhile, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) recently introduced legislation to end no-knock warrants after the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African American woman in Louisville. Taylor died after being shot eight times by police who entered her home using a no-knock warrant.
Police were executing a drug warrant in search of a suspect who did not live in Taylor's apartment complex. The suspect had already been detained prior to the raid on her home.
Taylor was working as an EMT with the hopes of becoming a nurse.
The Justice for Breonna Taylor Act bans officers from carrying out a warrant without announcing their authority or purpose.
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