“Once (the video) gets out into the hands of the public, that public pressure turns out to be very effective in moving elected officials to hold police officers accountable, so that’s what we’re looking forward to in this case,” Merritt said on CNN’s “Newsroom.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that the administration has faith in the bipartisan negotiations that are ongoing on Capitol Hill. She noted that Biden used his address before a joint session of Congress to reiterate his view that “police reform is long overdue, that the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is exactly the right forum and bill that could help get that done” while beginning to “rebuild trust in communities.” The Democratic-controlled House passed that legislation in March along party lines, but it’s faced a steeper climb in the Senate, where Democrats have a razor-thin majority.
Psaki said the administration has “confidence in the negotiators, and we’ve seen them convey publicly that they feel the vibes are good and they’re continuing to make progress.”
Biden has spoken with empathy and great admiration for the courage the Floyd family has shown over the past year as they have taken part in Black Lives Matter protests and expressed their solidarity with the families of other Black Americans killed by police.
“We’re going to get a lot more done,” Biden told the Floyd family in that call, referencing police reform legislation. “We’re going to stay at it until we get it done.”
But the two sides are still trying to resolve their differences in the key areas of qualified immunity, which shields police officers from civil lawsuits, and Democrats’ desire for changes to Section 242, a portion of federal law that sets the standard for criminally prosecuting police officers.
Bass told reporters last month that the change was essential to cutting a final deal with the GOP on a compromise bill, because she believes the current standards to prosecute officers are so high: “That’s why they’re never held to account,” she said.
Despite the pressure for a deal by May 25, Bass, Booker and Scott have all said it is more important to get the deal right than to rush it because of an arbitrary — if symbolic — deadline.
“What is more important to me than not is that we have a substantive piece of legislation that is transformative for policing,” Bass told CNN earlier this month. “So if that takes a few more days past May 25, I’m fine with that.”