President Trump to Sign Police-Reform Executive Order

President Donald Trump departs the White House to visit outside St. John’s Church in Washington June 1. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (CN) — As Congress prepares its own police reform initiatives, President Donald Trump plans to issue an executive order Tuesday aimed at incentivizing police departments to adopt new use of force standards and participate in a national police misconduct database.

“The overall goal is we want law and order and we want it done fairly, justly, we want it done safely,” Trump said Monday at the White House. “But we want law and order. It’s about law and order. But it’s about justice also and it’s about safety.”

As detailed by senior administration officials on Monday afternoon, the executive order that Trump will unveil on Tuesday is more narrow than the reforms currently being debated in Congress.

The order will incentivize police departments to adopt updated use of force standards, participate in a nationwide database tracking officers accused of misconduct and adopting policies allowing social workers to respond to non-violent incidents, especially those involving mental health, drug addiction and homelessness, the administration officials said.

Certain details of how the executive order will be implemented remain unclear, but the administration officials said the order will generally make it so the federal government weighs those reforms when making decisions on awarding grants to departments.

The executive order comes amid ongoing nationwide protests against racial disparities in policing spurred on by the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old man who died in police custody in Minneapolis last month.

The protests have renewed calls for federal police reform legislation and congressional Democrats last week unveiled a sweeping package that would ban chokeholds, set up a nation-wide registry to track police misconduct complaints, require the use of body cameras and change the federal standard for police misconduct.

The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to mark up its reform package on Wednesday and Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina is working on a reform plan for Senate Republicans. Appearing on “Meet the Press” Sunday, Scott expressed confidence that his reform efforts will succeed.

“I think we’re going to get to a bill that actually becomes law,” Scott said.

The bill from House Democrats would also alter qualified immunity, the legal doctrine that shields police from civil lawsuits over excessive force. Though the idea of reforming the doctrine is popular with advocates, it is considered a poison pill for Republicans in Congress and the White House.

A senior administration official on Monday reiterated that Trump would not support any package that reforms qualified immunity and suggested the same would be true even if Congress were to pass a bill that included the reforms within the executive order Trump will sign Tuesday.

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up cases urging the court to reconsider the doctrine, putting the effort in the legislative branch.

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