Trump signs order on police reform

New order discourages use of chokeholds, creates database tracking misconduct

Following weeks of national protests since the death of George Floyd, President Donald Trump has signed an executive order he said would encourage better police practices. But he made no mention of the roiling national debate over racism spawned by police killings of black people.

Mr. Trump met privately with the families of several black Americans killed in interactions with police before his Rose Garden signing ceremony and said he grieved for the lives lost and families devastated.

“Reducing crime and raising standards are not opposite goals,” he said before signing the order on Tuesday, flanked by police officials.

Mr. Trump’s executive order would establish a database that tracks police officers with excessive use-of-force complaints in their records. Many officers who wind up involved in fatal interactions have long complaint histories, including Derek Chauvin, the white Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in Floyd’s death.

The order would give police departments a financial incentive to adopt best practices and encourage co-responder programmes, in which social workers join police when they respond to nonviolent calls involving mental health, addiction and homelessness issues.

Mr. Trump said that, as part of the order, the use of chokeholds, which have become a symbol of police brutality, would be banned “except if an officer’s life is at risk.”

While Mr. Trump hailed his efforts as “historic,” Democrats and other critics said he didn’t go nearly far enough.

Recommended for you