FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) adjusts his face mask as he listens to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speak to reporters after the Senate’s weekly Republican Policy Luncheon at the Capitol in Washington, United States, on June 23. 2020. REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US lawmakers will try this week to revive efforts to enact police reform legislation in Congress, a Republican senator said Sunday after measures to address police misconduct following the death of George Floyd deteriorated into partisan disputes.
Senator Tim Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate and the author of a Republican reform bill that Democrats blocked last week, said he will meet in the next few days with lawmakers who drafted Democratic legislation that passed the House of Representatives on last thursday
Scott suggested common ground on a Democratic provision to remove legal immunity protections for police, which has been a major hurdle.
“If there is a way forward, we should find it,” Scott told CNN’s “State of the Union” program.
Floyd’s death on May 25, when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck, sparked weeks of worldwide protests against police brutality and sparked strong public sentiment for effective reforms to the American police.
But efforts to forge a legislative deal in Congress have been stymied by a party of political screaming between Democrats and Republicans, including President Donald Trump, which sparked renewed dismay on Sunday by retweeting a video in which one of his supporters he yelled, “White power!” The video here was later removed from Trump’s feed.
Scott said he spoke over the weekend to Representative Karen Bass, president of the Black Caucus of Congress, a group of more than 50 black lawmakers who drafted the Democratic bill, ahead of talks expected this week.
Scott and other Republicans oppose a Democratic proposal to allow victims of misconduct to sue the police for financial damages, saying it would have a negative effect on law enforcement. But Scott said he would be willing to consider legislation that allows victims to sue municipalities, counties and states. “There is a way to do it,” he told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Report by David Morgan; edition by Grant McCool