A bipartisan group of politicians failed to reach an agreement on a long-discussed overhaul of police practices meant to stop police killings of Black men and women.
Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) along with Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif) have been negotiating on a police reform deal for months. The sticking point that couldn’t be resolved seems to be qualified immunity which shields police officers from civil liability in cases of misconduct.
According to Booker, the last offer made by Democrats omitted any changes to qualified immunity. Booker told reporters at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday that he had a brief conversation with Scott and the group and was unable to make any meaningful progress on police reforms.
“We made it clear from the beginning of our negotiations that a bill must ensure true accountability, transparency, and the policing standards necessary to bring an end to horrific incidents of violence Americans are routinely seeing — like the murder of George Floyd. After months of exhausting every possible pathway to a bipartisan deal, it remains out of reach right now,” Booker said in a statement.
The negotiations began late last year in the aftermath of Floyd’s murder last year, which led to nation and worldwide protests against police brutality.
Democrats initially took a hardline stance in the negotiations on police reform, but as time passed and pressure mounted to complete a deal, Democrats began giving in and making changes to their plans on qualified immunity. Republicans meanwhile, resisted making any changes as they were fearful of the backlash of exposing police officers to lawsuits. Additionally, Republicans also believe reform will force police to adopt less aggressive and effective tactics.
“Unfortunately, even with this law enforcement support and further compromises we offered, there was still too wide a gulf with our negotiating partners and we faced significant obstacles to securing a bipartisan deal,” Booker added.