The bipartisan group of lawmakers tasked with police reform negotiations say their talks are over, citing irreconcilable differences.
“After months of exhausting every possible pathway to a bipartisan deal, it remains out of reach right now,” Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, even with this law enforcement support and further compromises we offered, there was still too wide a gulf with our negotiating partners and we faced significant obstacles to securing a bipartisan deal,” he added.
Booker has been negotiating with Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) for months. They could not agree on several issues; among them was reforming qualified immunity, which protects officers from civil liability.
“After months of making progress, I am deeply disappointed that Democrats have once again squandered a crucial opportunity to implement meaningful reform to make our neighborhoods safer and mend the tenuous relationship between law enforcement and communities of color,” Scott said.
“Despite having plenty of agreement, Democrats said no because they could not let go of their push to defund our law enforcement,” he added.
Bass called on the White House to step in.
“Whether that’s an executive order, whether that’s issuing instructions, whatever they can do, we need the administration to act now because we don’t have any particular faith or hope that we will be able to get reforms passed,” she said.
Last week, the Justice Department enacted reforms for federal law enforcement under the department’s supervision, banning the use of chokeholds and no-knock entries — unless the use of force is authorized.