WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden signed an executive order to reform federal policing on Wednesday, the second anniversary of George Floyd's murder.
Prior to signing the order, Biden spoke about the reform, saying it will promote accountability, raise standards and modernize policing. Among the changes are all federal agents will adopt and publicly post body-worn camera policies, ban chokeholds and carotid restraints unless deadly force is authorized and require new standards that emphasize de-escalation.
"This executive order is going to deliver the most significant police reform in decades," said Biden. "It applies directly, under law, to only 100,000 federal enforcement officers ... (but) we expect the order to have a significant impact on state and local law enforcement agencies as well."
The order reflects a less extensive approach than Biden originally wanted because Congress was unable to agree on legislation that would have increased oversight of law enforcement. It is the result of months of negotiations among White House officials, civil rights groups and police organizations.
The administration began working on executive action after bipartisan talks to pass police reform legislation in Congress stalled last year.
Floyd's murder under the knee of now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020 sparked nationwide protests and calls for police reform. Chauvin was convicted on state charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death and sentenced to 22.5 years in prison. He later reached a plea deal on federal charges of violating George Floyd's civil rights.
Three other former Minneapolis officers were also charged in connection with George Floyd's murder. Earlier this month, Thomas Lane pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. The other former officers, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, are scheduled to go to trial on similar charges starting in mid-June. All three men were convicted on federal civil rights charges earlier this year.
Floyd's murder sparked a state investigation into Minneapolis Police Department procedures and policies; the Minnesota Department of Human Rights found probable cause that "the City and MPD engage in a pattern or practice of race discrimination" and violated the state human rights act.
Members of Floyd's family were present during the signing on Wednesday, including Floyd's daughter Gianna Floyd, who was brought up on stage after Biden signed the order, and given the pen Biden used to sign it.
"You know what she told when I saw her when she was a little, little girl two years ago? She pulled me aside and said, 'My daddy is going to change the world," Biden said as Gianna sat at the desk where Biden signed the order.