WASHINGTON - A bipartisan group of lawmakers has failed to achieve a long-discussed overhaul of police practices meant to stem the killings of Black citizens at the hands of law enforcement officers, an aide to one of the members said Wednesday.
Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., along with Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., had been negotiating for months. They were unable to resolve the issue of whether to loosen or eliminate the doctrine of "qualified immunity" that shields police officers and departments from civil liability in cases of misconduct, a Booker aide said.
News of the collapse of the talks was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
According to the Booker aide, Democrats' final offer completely omitted any change to qualified immunity or Section 242 of the Civil Rights Act, which could cause officers to face expanded accountability in court.
Throughout the talks, Democrats had made eliminating - or at least loosening - the doctrine a cornerstone of their overhaul efforts. Republicans by and large had resisted making any changes, fearful that exposing police officers to lawsuits could cause them to adopt less aggressive and less effective tactics.