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House passes police reform bill after Republican Senate bill falters

The House on Thursday voted 236-181 in favor of a police reform bill conceived following nationwide protests in response to the police-involved killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.  Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
The House on Thursday voted 236-181 in favor of a police reform bill conceived following nationwide protests in response to the police-involved killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.  Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

June 25 (UPI) -- House Democrats on Thursday passed a police reform bill a day after Democrats in the Senate blocked a separate policing measure introduced by Republicans.

The Democrat-led House passed the bill by a vote of 236-181, with support from three Republican lawmakers.

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The bill, known as the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, would weaken "qualified immunity" making it easier for victims of police abuse to sue officers and for officials to fire and prosecute over misconduct. It would also ban chokeholds and "no-knock" search warrants at a federal level by basing funding to state and local governments on whether those tactics are banned and would require bias training and more data sharing regarding police use of force.

Lawmakers named the measure after Geroge Floyd, a black man in Minnesota who was killed by police on Memorial day sparking nationwide protests calling for police reform as well as defunding and abolition.

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"Americans from every walk of life and corner of the country have been marching, protesting and demanding that this moment of national agony become one of national action," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said. "Today, with the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the House is honoring his life and the lives of all killed by police brutality and pledging: never again."

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The House, led by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, unveiled the bill two weeks after Floyd's death and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy later said he agreed with some of its concepts, including the ban on chokeholds, as Republicans prepared a bill of their own.

On Wednesday, Democrats in the Senate blocked the advancement of a Republican-led police reform bill as the chamber voted 55-45 in favor of the measure but fell short of the 60 votes needed for its advance.

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The bill, led by Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, differed from the House bill by making exceptions for bans on chokeholds and no-knock warrants.

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