It has been a year since George Floyd was killed at the hands of police officer Derek Chauvin. Even as Chauvin is on a murder trial, another young black man Duante Wright was shot by what Minneapolis Police Chief calls ‘accidental discharge.’ In Chicago, an unarmed 13-year-old Latino child Adam Toledo was shot by an officer.
Black and brown bodies are under constant threat of violence at the hands of the police. A wave of protests continues to grip American cities. Yet President Joe Biden has not decisively acted on police reform or holding police departments accountable for excessive force and negligence. Even as pressure mounts on the president, he hasn’t urged Congress to take action on creating a police reform commission. This was incidentally one of his campaign promises.
White House officials attribute the President’s caution to advocates that believe a commission would run counter to the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The issue of police reform legislation has divided the Democratic party since many Republicans have accused Democrats of radicalism and calls to defund the police. This is an attempt to frame Democrats as sympathetic to the view of a minority, even though many Democrats do not support the call to defund police.
Democrats are facing the possibility that Republicans will use the “defund police” issue to take control of Congress in the 2022 midterms. It appears that the President is taking care to distance himself from the progressive left even within his party on several issues. As he does this, public outrage is spiking as people demand he does more than call for peace and calm.
As Americans await the verdict in the Chauvin trial, they hope fervently that the President tackles police shootings as the urgent issue it is.