Trump, Senate GOP seek police changes as Democrats urge more

WASHINGTON (AP) — Embracing a new priority, President Donald Trump is set to announce executive actions on police procedures and Senate Republicans are preparing a package of policing changes as the GOP rushes to respond to mass demonstrations over the deaths of George Floyd and other black Americans.

It’s a sudden shift for the Republican Party, one Democrats are watching warily, and a crush of activity that shows how quickly the mass protests over police violence and racial prejudice are transforming national politics.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will gavel in Tuesday afternoon for an extensive hearing on “Police Use of Force and Community Relations,” drawing testimony from the nation’s leading civil rights and law enforcement leaders.

“Now is the time to reimagine a more fair and just society in which all people are safe,” Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, will tell senators, according to advance testimony obtained by The Associated Press.

The nationwide outcry “is anything but a reaction to one isolated incident or the misconduct of a few ‘bad apples,’” Gupta says. “The outcry is a response to the other horrific killings of Black people by police.”

While the emerging GOP package isn’t as extensive as sweeping Democratic proposals, which are headed for a House vote next week, it includes perhaps the most far-reaching proposed changes to policing procedures from the party long aligned with a “law and order” approach.

Trump’s executive order would include establishing a database that tracks police officers who garner complaints about excessive use of force in their records, according to two senior administration officials who briefed reporters ahead of Tuesday’s announcement.

It would also establish a national credentialing system that would give police departments a financial incentive to adopt best practices. The two officials briefed reporters on the executive order on the condition that they not be identified.

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