June 16 (UPI) — President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday that calls for police reforms after more than three weeks of demonstrations spurred by the recent police killings of George Floyd in Minnesota and other African Americans.
The president signed the “Safe Policing for Safe Communities” order in the Rose Garden while surrounded by law enforcement officers and union members.
Trump has promised the order for days and has been under growing scrutiny since Floyd’s May 25 death grew into a national and international civil rights movement.
The order contains measures requiring that police departments ban the use of chokeholds to receive certification for federal grants and moves to create a national registry to track officers with multiple instances of the use of excessive force.
It also includes language promoting the use of mental health professionals to help police deal with issues of homelessness and addiction while working in the field.
Trump said Tuesday that “common ground” must be found in efforts to reform police departments in the wake of the protests and again sounded the theme of “law and order,” criticizing what he called “radical and dangerous efforts to defend, dismantle and dissolve our police departments.”
There are a “small number of bad police officers,” he said. “They are very tiny. I use the word ‘tiny.’ It is a very small percentage. But you have them.”
Trump met the families of victims of police killings before the event, including that of Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot dead in February by a retired police officer while jogging in Georgia. The families were not in attendance during the event itself.
Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer called the measure a “modest” one that fails to make up for the president’s “years of inflammatory rhetoric and policies designed to roll back the progress made in previous years.”
“Unfortunately, this executive order will not deliver the comprehensive meaningful change and accountability in our nation’s police departments that Americans are demanding,” he said.
Democratic lawmakers last week introduced a sweeping police reform package, including measures making it easier to prosecute officers in criminal and civil court, limiting the transfer of military-grade weapons and barring “no-knock” warrants in drug cases.
Senate Republicans crafted their own package, calling for mandatory reporting of uses of force that result in death or serious injury, among other provisions.