In the three months since a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, the U.S. has experienced a tidal wave of protests, marches and now, proposed legislation. On Thursday, state lawmakers from the Texas Legislative Black Caucus unveiled a police reform bill they are calling “the George Floyd Act.”
State Rep. Garnet Coleman of Houston is a member of the Caucus. He discussed the contents of the bill on the Texas Standard.
“It would ban all chokeholds, including the one that killed him,” Coleman said of the George Floyd Act.
Among other reforms, the bill would also take away some special immunity from prosecution enjoyed by police officers, limit the use of force and require intervention if a suspect requires medical attention.
“There are many times when officers are in close proximity to the need for medical attention, so that’s a very important part of this,” Coleman said. “As is a mandated use of deescalation policing. Which would save many lives because it would move from harsh command and control types of policing, that lead to violence, to a deescalation that calms down the situation.”
Floyd’s death was not the first time that police brutality has made headlines, nor is it the first time that the Texas Legislative Black Caucus has proposed reforms. But the graphic video of Floyd’s death pushed people to take more action.
“Everyone could see there was just something wrong with that picture and something heinous about that picture,” Coleman said. “I think people just said enough is enough. The black community, or communities of color, just can’t take this anymore.”
The George Floyd Act will be introduced during the next legislative session in January. Gov. Greg Abbott has not commented on the bill, but Coleman says, no matter the governor’s stance, the public will demand reforms.
Web story by Sarah Gabrielli.