AUSTIN, Texas - A number of sweeping police reforms are being proposed in the Texas Legislature Thursday – aiming to crack down on police brutality and increase officer accountability.
The George Floyd Act, named in memory of the Houston native who died in police custody in Minneapolis last year, seeks to prevent deaths like his in the Lone Star State.
The bill is being introduced by Texas Democrats and the Legislative Black Caucus. It will be heard just days before a jury is set to hear the murder case against Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin for Floyd’s death.
Among the proposed reforms are a ban on chokeholds, restrictions on the use of deadly force, and requiring officers to intervene if another officer is using excessive force. The bill would also end arrests for non-jailable violations, and make it more difficult for officers to claim so-called "qualified immunity" from civil lawsuits.
So far, there are few signs of GOP support for the bill, and it’s unclear whether Governor Greg Abbott would support the reforms as written, although he did express early support for a law to address police brutality following Floyd’s death. Sponsors acknowledge there would likely need to be changes made to the bill in order to win bipartisan support.
A rally in support of the George Floyd Act was held at the south entrance to the Capitol. It was led by the Austin Justice Coalition, with members of several civil rights and racial justice organizations speaking and attending.