House Democrats went from supporting a police unions bill earlier this year to leaving it sitting on a table amid the racial unrest that has enveloped the country, touched off by the police killing of George Floyd.
Politico Magazine published a lengthy piece on the subject, which explains how the Democrats, who are generally in favor of unions because of the party's pro-labor stance, are now advocating for police unions having less power.
Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, expressed worry over the bill when it was introduced despite it being supported by nearly all Democrats — including the members of the far-left "squad." Castro was concerned over how police unions would have more say over misconduct standards at departments, and he urged special interest groups to lobby his colleagues on the matter.
After a police officer was caught on video holding his knee to the neck of George Floyd for nearly nine minutes on Memorial Day, after which Floyd died, the conversation in the Democratic Party around police unions took a 180-degree turn.
Politico spoke with several Democrats, all of whom said they are in favor of police unions. But they're opposed to those unions having a say in writing police misconduct standards for union contracts.
"As Democrats, we're very supportive of expanding rights and protections for workers," Castro said. "[But] police unions have taken advantage of collective bargaining agreements to create less accountability and transparency around police work."
Racial justice protesters have squared off with police officers in cities and towns nationwide in the wake of Floyd's death. Protests have ramped up every time a police shooting occurs.
With Joe Biden leading in the polls as he tries to unseat President Donald Trump next month, and with Republicans' 53-47 Senate majority in jeopardy, Democrats have the potential to control the executive and legislative branches. If that happens, crackdowns on police unions could follow.
Some Democrats have called for defunding the police, although Biden said he's not in favor of that. In fact, Biden said he wants to give police departments more money to help them better serve their communities amid the civil unrest.
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