The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, June 10, 2020 4:03 pm

Braun considers competing legislative proposals

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana appears to be straddling the fence on competing legislative proposals aimed at preventing police brutality. 

Braun is part of a small group of Republican senators drafting a package of bills that would tie federal funding for law enforcement agencies to their using body cameras, conducting conflict deescalation training and reporting to the FBI all uses of force resulting in death or serious injury. The package would require states to maintain a system for sharing records on law enforcement officers. 

Braun also supports banning the use of chokeholds by police officers on apprehended suspects, and he wants to abolish officers' qualified immunity from civil lawsuits – provisions contained in legislation introduced by congressional Democrats but that are missing from the Republican plan. 

The GOP effort led by South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott "may not go far enough," Braun said Wednesday, while Democratic lawmakers "may be doing some things that would be a step too far." 

Braun said he is uncertain whether he could back a Democratic measure to prohibit "no knock" search warrants that allow police to enter a home without knocking and announcing their presence. 

Regardless of what legislation advances, lawmakers should "do something that is going to be more than window dressing," Braun said during a conference call with Indiana news media. 

"I don't want to do this to where it looks like we don't mean business with the underlying issue," he said. 

The legislative proposals come in response to the May 25 death of George Floyd after a white police officer kneeled on his neck while the African American man was handcuffed and lying on pavement in Minneapolis. A bystander's recording sparked protests around the world.

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