The reforms being pushed could not have even saved George Floyd’s life. We need much more than this
On Wednesday night, the House of Representatives voted to pass the George Floyd Act, named after the Black man killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin last summer. Among many reforms, the act seeks to ban racial profiling, overhaul qualified immunity for police, and ban the use of chokeholds. While these seem like good measures, they are woefully insufficient to stop police violence. These reforms could not have even saved George Floyd’s life.
To be clear, Floyd did not die from a chokehold. A police officer put his knee to Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. A medical examiner’s autopsy reported “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression”. Floyd also had blunt force trauma to his head, face and shoulders. Banning chokeholds is important, as we should reduce the number of tactics that the police can employ to be dangerous. However, the problem with policing is precisely that – they can kill people using a diverse number of tactics. Shooting, kneeling, punching, suffocating, Tasing. Congress banned one practice, and not even the one responsible for the homicide.