Written by Cara Chapman in the Press-Republican on June 17, 2020
PLATTSBURGH — North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) called President Donald Trump’s executive order on police reform “an important first step” when asked if it went far enough given the outcry following the death of George Floyd.
The order, among other measures, mandates that the U.S. Department of Justice create and maintain a database to track police misconduct.
“I think you have to have an understanding of the data, you have to share that information,” Stefanik said.
The congresswoman pointed to how the now former officers alleged in the “tragic, horrific case” of Floyd’s murder last month “should not be moved from one police department to the next.”
“You have to ensure that our law enforcement officers are living up to equal justice under the law and are not abusing their position of power which has caused just a horrible loss of life,” Stefanik added.
She said Congress was still looking at bipartisan legislative provisions, noting U.S. Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-South Carolina) leadership in the Senate.
“We’re working with him and there’s a number of ideas that are being discussed at the House level. I do think that you will see additional legislative action.”
On ideas being floated, Stefanik mentioned authorization and appropriation of funds for law enforcement agencies that have best practices and ensuring accurate data on the use of force.
“I know there is a discussion on the prohibition on the use of chokeholds. We need to make sure that we have funding to collect that data, to make data-driven decisions, that ensure that law enforcement officers are able to have safe and secure communities and not overstep.”
She also thinks increased funding for bystander training is important, noting that multiple officers, not just one, were involved in Floyd’s death.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) did not praise the president’s order.
“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 designed to roll back the progress made in previous years,” he said.
Schumer said it was unfortunate that the order would not deliver the comprehensive meaningful change and accountability Americans were demanding.
“Congress needs to quickly pass strong and bold legislation with provisions that make it easier to hold police officers accountable for abuses, and President Trump must commit to signing it into law.”
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