After weeks of protests against racism and policy brutality prompted by the death of George Floyd, a black man killed on May 25 in police custody in Minneapolis, US President Donald Trump, on Tuesday signed an order on Tuesday that he said would reform police practices while maintaining “law and order.”
Trump, flanked by Police chiefs opened his remarks by expressing sympathy to the families of victims of police violence, pledging to fight for justice and promising them their loved ones will not have died in vain.
Trump sought to offer a policy response to rising concerns about racial injustice going into the Nov. 3 election, in which he is seeking a second term, with the order banning use of choke holds by police unless the life of an officer is in danger.
He then pivoted to a call for a return to “law and order” and threatened looters and anarchists during protests will face penalties.
“Americans want law and order, they demand law and order,” Trump said at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden.
Trump’s order encourages police departments to employ the latest standards for use of force, add social workers to law enforcement responses to non-violent cases involving drug addiction and homelessness and improve information sharing so that officers with poor records are not hired without their backgrounds being known.
Trump’s order also frees federal funds to police departments that get independent certification by outside bodies and encourages police to use less-lethal weapons such as stun guns.
Trump reiterated that he opposes calls to “defund the police” by reimagining or dismantling police departments.
Trump’s decision to ban chokeholds appears similar to the ban included in the Democratic legislation, known as the Justice in Policing Act.