Choke-Holds Made Exceptions As Donald Trump Signs US Police Reforms

Law enforcement officials applaud after President Donald Trump signs an executive order on police reform which he is holding

Mr Trump offered his condolences to the families of victims of recent police violence and vowed to pursue justice

"We need to bring law enforcement and communities closer together, not to drive them apart", Trump said.

After weeks of protests against racism and policy brutality prompted by the death of George Floyd, a black man killed on May 25 in police custody in Minneapolis, Trump sought to offer a policy response to rising concerns about racial injustice going into the November 3 election, in which he is seeking a second term. But Trump has talked more frequently about "law and order" and cracking down on looting and unrest than he has about plans to address systemic racism.

"Americans want law and order", said the president during his remarks Tuesday.

He also denounced the violence that protests against last month's killing of George Floyd in Minnesota escalated into, and spread nationwide.

Trump and Republicans in Congress have been rushing to respond to the mass demonstrations against police brutality and racial prejudice that have raged for weeks across the country in response to the deaths of Floyd and other black Americans.

What is executive order about?

"I strongly oppose the radical and unsafe efforts to defund, dismantle and dissolve our police departments", Trump said. Leading Democrats and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden have not embraced those calls, but Republicans have sought to tie them to the proposals to provide a contrast to Trump's rhetoric.

Democrats in the House of Representatives and Republicans in the Senate are preparing competing packages of policing changes as U.S. politicians seek to respond to mass demonstrations over the deaths of George Floyd and other Black Americans.

Senate Republicans are expected to unveil their own legislation on Wednesday that concentrates more on data collection than on policy changes in areas involving lethal force.

Protesters take a knee on Flatbush Avenue in front of a line of New York City police officers
Mr Trump's executive order comes after weeks of protests across the United States

"Beyond the steps we're taking today, I am committed to working with Congress on additional measures", Trump said.

Democrats want to allow victims of misconduct and their families to sue police. The doctrine protects law enforcement officers from lawsuits unless it can be proven they violated clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.

Trump's decision to ban chokeholds appears similar to the ban included in the Democratic legislation.

Up to now, Republican lawmakers have had a mixed response on the issue, with some saying they are willing to support a ban and others contending that such issues should be left to local jurisdictions.

"While the president has finally acknowledged the need for policing reform, one modest executive order will not make up for his years of inflammatory rhetoric and policies created to roll back the progress made in previous years", said Schumer.

Prior to signing an executive order approving law enforcement reforms that civil rights groups criticized as severely tone-deaf and inadequate, President Donald Trump on Tuesday delivered a rambling and authoritarian speech in which he defended USA police, attacked racial justice demonstrators, and proclaimed that Americans "want law and order" whether they know it or not.

"Now is the time to reimagine a more fair and just society in which all people are safe", Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, told senators, according to The Associated Press news agency.

Critics, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said the order was insufficient.

The flurry of activity shows how quickly the mass protests over police violence and racial prejudice are transforming politics in the US. Neither bill goes as far as some activists want in their push to "defund the police" by fully revamping departments.

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