President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order directing federal law enforcement agencies to revise policies for use of force and create a national registry to track law enforcement officers who are sacked for misconduct.
According to The New York Times, Mr Biden plans to sign the order in the presence of law enforcement officials and family members of George Floyd, the Minneapolis, Minnesota man whose May 2020 murder by a Minneapolis police officer sparked a wave of protests across the United States.
In addition to the use-of-force guideline changes and misconduct registry, the order Mr Biden will sign reportedly provides for issuing guidance to police agencies regarding how to screen for inherent bias among police officers, including white supremacist views.
The Times also reported that the order would provide for more collection of data on use-of-force incidents, and would also “attempt to standardize and improve credentialing of police agencies”.
The Biden administration’s decision to use executive action to force some level of reform in law enforcement practices comes after months of negotiations between White House officials in charge of drafting the order and the law enforcement officials it would affect.
A previous version of the order which became public five months ago drew cries of foul from police groups, who complained about being left out of the drafting process.
The attempt to use executive action to bring about some measure of police reform also follows the failure of House and Senate negotiators to move Democrats’ major police reform bill, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, through Congress, after Senate Republicans objected to a provision that would have made it easier to sue police officers who violate Americans’ civil rights.
Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum think tank, told the Times the version set to be signed by Mr Biden is “substantially different” from the draft which leaked in January, and said the differences between the two versions has “have a big difference to many of us in law enforcement”.