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Read Democrats' final offer on police reform before talks collapsed

Tim Scott blames Democrats for collapse of police reform talks
Tim Scott blames Democrats for collapse of po... 08:44

Washington — The blame game has begun in Washington following the demise of police reform legislation that had been the subject of bipartisan negotiations for more than a year on Capitol Hill.

Democratic lawmakers, led by Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and Representative Karen Bass of California, decided last Wednesday to call off negotiations with a group of Republicans led by Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina. President Biden blamed the deal's collapse on Republicans, saying the GOP had "rejected enacting modest reforms which even the previous president had supported." 

A source familiar with negotiations in Booker's office affirmed that interpretation, telling CBS News that Democrats could not get Republicans to agree to codify the executive orders former President Donald Trump signed last summer that enacted a raft of reforms on police departments.

Mr. Trump's orders, like the legislative effort that fell through last week, included reforms like a ban on chokeholds and improved federal data collection efforts. The orders also conditioned the release of federal grant money to local departments on their adoption of reforms.

Scott, for his part, said attaching strings to federal money was a nonstarter for Republicans in the latest debate.

"We have about a billion dollars in grant money that goes to police," the South Carolina Republican said Sunday on "Face the Nation." "When you start saying, 'In order to receive those dollars, you must do A, B and C, and if you don't do a B and C, you literally lose eligibility for the two major pots of money' — the Byrne grants and the COP grants — when you tell local law enforcement agencies that you are ineligible for money, that's defunding the police. There's no way to spin that."

"But this would codify the Trump executive orders," said CBS News chief foreign affairs correspondent and "Face the Nation" moderator Margaret Brennan.

"The Trump executive order I actually agree to," Scott replied. "What I did not agree to was the cuts that come from noncompliance."

CBS News obtained a document from Booker's office outlining Democrats' final offer on police reform before the talks collapsed, along with the "minimum requirements" they had for any potential bill. The contents of that document are reprinted below:


Policing – Summary and Minimum Requirements (9/21/21)

ACCREDITATION

1. Minimum requirement: Adopt the policy in the Trump Executive Order directing the Attorney General to work with law enforcement officials and other stakeholders to develop national accreditation standards. Departments must gain accreditation to remain eligible for COPS and Byrne grants.

SEARCH WARRANTS

1. Minimum requirement: Ban the use of no-knock warrants all drug cases (Major County Sheriffs' Associations' policy proposal) and make any evidence seized in violation of the policy inadmissible in court.

MILITARIZATION

1. Base Agreement: The limitations on the transfers of military equipment to state and local agencies will apply to all federal agencies and use of grant funds (except asset forfeiture funds) and law enforcement agencies must get approval from their state or local unit of government to obtain controlled equipment.

2. Outstanding issues: There must be a limitation on the transfer of tracked vehicles, which may be obtained for emergency uses through a waiver process. There also must be increased oversight of the programs (specifically, a DOJ unit with authority to monitor transfers across all federal agencies and with the authority to review complaints of misuse or civil rights violations).

ACCOUNTABILITY DATABASE

1. Agreement: Create a public, searchable database that provides information for officer terminations, de-certifications, and criminal convictions, with officers' names.

2. Additional requirements: The database must include officer complaint level data (ideally anonymized) and reporting must be mandatory.

LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES DATABASE

1. Minimum requirements: Expand the FBI Use of Force Database to include all types of force (except for minor use of force) and data for investigatory activities (traffic and pedestrian stops, and searches, including frisks and consent searches) and reporting must be mandatory to remain eligible for COPS and Byrne grants.

MENTAL HEALTH

1. Minimum requirements: Must include grants for alternative community-based responses/services.

OTHER BILLS – TBD

1. Minimum requirements: New civil rights criminal statues for sexual assault by officers and theft by officers. Plus misc bills that can be agreed upon.

CHOKEHOLDS – AGREEMENT

1. Chokeholds or vascular neck restraints, including carotid holds, will be prohibited unless deadly force is justified.

2. State and local agencies will be prohibited from training officers on the use of chokeholds except for the purpose of identifying and intervening to stop the use of a chokehold (no ban on training at the federal level).

3. Officers will have a duty to intervene when observing another officer using a chokehold.

4. State and local departments will not be eligible for COPS or Byrne grants unless they have a similar policy in place.

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