President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order that urges police departments to adopt stricter use-of-force policies amid nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd, senior administration officials said Monday.
The order, which Trump will sign Tuesday, would prioritize federal grants for law enforcement agencies that train officers using de-escalation tactics and curb the use of chokeholds. It would seek to track complaints over the use of force and help departments better deal with social problems, including mental illness and homelessness, the officials said.
The measure stands in contrast to the president’s moves to unshackle and arm police departments since taking office. He signed a pair of executive orders in 2017 designed to give police forces additional powers to fight crime and restore access to military surplus equipment, like armored vehicles and grenade launchers.
During a speech that year on Long Island, N.Y., to law enforcement officers, Trump urged them not to protect the heads of suspected gang members when placing them into patrol cars after an arrest.
“Please don’t be too nice,” the president said.
But the death in police custody of Floyd, an African American Minneapolis man, and the waves of protests that followed have brought renewed scrutiny to the issues of racial injustice and police brutality.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, chief of staff Mark Meadows and policy adviser Ja’Ron Smith last week met with Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina on Capitol Hill to discuss his police reform legislation.
Scott, the only black Republican in the upper chamber, is drafting a bill that would contain several issues also addressed in the order.
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