Republicans in the Senate are apparently looking to put forward their own ideas for police reform as protesters across all 50 states and D.C. (as well as across the rest of the globe) demand action following the police-involved killing of George Floyd. And, to address the problem, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has turned to the chamber’s only Black Republican, Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), to assist in the creation of legislation.
According to the Washington Post, McConnell (R-KY) said that he tapped Scott to lead due to his experience “dealing with this discrimination that persists….”
“The best way is to listen to one of our own who has had these experiences,” McConnell added.
As the Post notes, Scott himself has been targeted, even on Capitol Hill, where he was once questioned if he was, in fact, a legislator, as he relayed in a 2016 Senate speech.
In 2015, Scott sponsored a bill following the police shooting of Walter Scott, who was shot in the back and killed while fleeing police in South Carolina, requiring states to keep a database of officer-involved deadly shootings of a civilian or risk of losing federal grant funding. According to the Post, Scott’s plan is expected to include this initiative.
The proposal is also expected to call for more training for officers, as well as a national police commission to help determine best practices for law enforcement, according to the Post.
“I think it’s important for this nation to take a very powerful stand and position that says we’re listening, we’re hearing and we’re reacting; we’re responding in a positive, constructive manner that doesn’t create a binary choice between supporting law enforcement and supporting communities of color,” Scott told reporters. “I think you can actually do both.”
The announcement comes a day after House and Senate Democrats pushed their own Justice in Policing Act, which bans chokeholds and no-knock warrants in response to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.