Public sentiment on police reform has shifted dramatically. Will it matter?

Public sentiment on police reform has shifted dramatically. Will it matter? Cover Image
Reporter Seung Min Kim explains the details of federal police reform efforts from Congress and the White House. Plus, Lisa Cylar Barrett of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, on whether current local and national efforts reflect the hopes of reform activists.

About Can He Do That?

“Can He Do That?” is The Washington Post’s politics podcast, exploring this extraordinary moment in American history with insight into how our government works, how to understand ongoing events, and what happens when branches of government collide.

In this episode

Public outcry and calls for police reform have erupted across the country, with movements taking aim at not just policing tactics, but also broader racial inequities embedded in American life.

Many of our nation’s leaders are responding to those calls for reform.

House and Senate Democrats on Tuesday united behind federal legislation, the Justice in Policing of 2020 Act. The act bans certain tactics such as like chokeholds and would make it easier to hold officers accountable for misconduct.

Just a day later, Senate Republicans began drafting their own police reform legislation. That package is expected to include a national police commission that would help determine best practices for law enforcement agencies.

But, even with similar goals, there are no guarantees that the Democratic-led House and the Republican-led Senate could agree on the specifics of a police reform bill. There’s also no assurance from the White House that President Trump would sign it.

Trump has struggled in his response to policing and protests. He’s tweeted false conspiracies about protesters, and he’s defended law enforcement, while also acknowledging some mistakes. He is now considering an executive order on police reform for actions he can take without Congress.

Meanwhile, change is happening at a local level too, with some states, like such as Minnesota, announcing their own police reform legislation.

These various efforts across the country, at a federal and local level, raise questions about what’s most effective. Can federal police reform efforts help locally? How much can Congress do to change the culture and practices of local police departments? And what are the president’s goals as the country approaches a third weekend of expected unrest?

On this episode of the“Can He Do That?” podcast, White House reporter Seung Min Kim explains the details of the federal police reform efforts we’re seeing out of Congress and the White House. Plus, Lisa Cylar Barrett, policy director at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, discusses whether current efforts reflect the hopes of reform activists.

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About Can He Do That?

“Can He Do That?” is The Washington Post’s politics podcast, exploring this extraordinary moment in American history with insight into how our government works, how to understand ongoing events, and what happens when branches of government collide.