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Sens. Scott, Booker, Rep. Bass announce deal on police reform bill framework

Lawmakers announced Thursday that they had reached a deal on the outlines of a federal police reform measure hours before the Senate was scheduled to depart Washington for a two-week recess.

Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tim Scott (R-SC) and Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) said in a statement that they had agreed to a framework “[a]fter months of working in good faith.”

“There is still more work to be done on the final bill, and nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to,” the statement added. “Over the next few weeks we look forward to continuing our work toward getting a finalized proposal across the finish line.”

Police reform rocketed to the top of the congressional agenda last year following the murder of George Floyd by then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. However, negotiations have stalled for months due to disagreements over issues like whether individual officers accused of abuse should be held liable in civil suits, and the ease of bringing criminal cases against officers who use excessive force.

President Biden had set a deadline of May 25, the anniversary of Floyd’s death, for negotiators to come to an agreement, but that was missed. Thursday’s announcement came on the anniversary of Democrats using the filibuster to block a police reform measure proposed by Scott, the Senate’s lone black Republican. That bill included incentives for local departments to restrict use of chokeholds, purchase and use body-worn cameras and keep information on use-of-force incidents and no-knock raids.

In March, the House of Representatives passed its own sweeping police reform bill almost entirely along party lines. That measure has stalled in the Senate.

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