GOP Sens.: If police reform is going to happen, must be before July

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 17: Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) is joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN) for a news conference to unveil the GOP's legislation to address racial disparities in law enforcement at the U.S. Capitol June 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. Scott, the Senate's lone black Republican, lead the effort to write the Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere (JUSTICE) Act, which discourages the use of chokeholds, requires police departments to release more information on use of force and no-knock warrants, and encourages body cameras and better training. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 17: Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) is joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN) for a news conference to unveil the GOP's legislation to address racial disparities in law enforcement at the U.S. Capitol June 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. Scott, the Senate's lone black Republican, lead the effort to write the Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere (JUSTICE) Act, which discourages the use of chokeholds, requires police departments to release more information on use of force and no-knock warrants, and encourages body cameras and better training. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) is joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) for a news conference to unveil the GOP’s legislation to address racial disparities in law enforcement at the U.S. Capitol June 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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UPDATED 1:50 PM PT – Sunday, June 6, 2021

Republicans on Capitol Hill are looking to July as an informal deadline for a police reform agreement to be made. May 25 has come and gone without a compromise and now Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) both see the end of June as the new timeline.

The debate has reached a stalemate on the key issue of qualified immunity, which many Democrats oppose. However, Republicans are hoping to reach a compromise that will still protect America’s law enforcement officers from frivolous litigation.

Graham suggested police departments should be subject to liability for incidents that result in death or serious bodily injury instead of going after officers directly. This move would keep legal protections in place for front-line officers.

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 20: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on December 20, 2018 in Washington, DC. Graham and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) spoke out against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to remove U.S. military forces from Syria. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on December 20, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

 

Scott agreed stating, “one thing that will bring about change in policing is when departments have more liability for the misconduct of officers. I think having some skin in the game will drive better policing.” He mentioned that they are trying to find that “sweet spot”.

Graham hopes to make police departments responsible for their officers’ conduct, while protecting individual officers from getting sued for their actions.

It appears likely that should lawmakers on Capitol Hill fail to reach an agreement by July, the conversation could be put on the backburner until after the 2022 midterm elections.

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