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Trump signs executive order banning most use of police chokeholds

Click to play video 'Trump signs order on police reform after weeks of protests about police brutality, racial injustice' Trump signs order on police reform after weeks of protests about police brutality, racial injustice
U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order on police reform in the country after public outcry and weeks-long protests following the death of George Floyd. The executive order is aimed at improving police practices such as use of force, and includes a ban on chokeholds unless an officer's life is in danger. Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minn. on Memorial Day after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes until he became unresponsive – Jun 16, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump, facing criticism that his policies and inflammatory rhetoric have aggravated a racial divide in the United States, signed an order on Tuesday aimed at improving police practices and said that “Americans want law and order.”

After weeks of protests against racism and police brutality prompted by the death of George Floyd, a black man killed on May 25 in police custody in Minneapolis, Trump offered a policy response to rising concerns about racial injustice going into the Nov. 3 election in which he is seeking a second term.

READ MORE: How George Floyd protests have ignited change in the U.S.

“Americans want law and order, they demand law and order,” Trump said at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden before signing the executive order.

The Republican president offered his condolences to the families of victims of recent police and other violence, and vowed to pursue justice.

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Click to play video 'Trump explains executive order on police reform which includes ban on chokeholds unless officer’s life in danger' Trump explains executive order on police reform which includes ban on chokeholds unless officer’s life in danger
Trump explains executive order on police reform which includes ban on chokeholds unless officer’s life in danger – Jun 16, 2020

In his public comments and on Twitter, Trump has called for crackdowns on protesters and emphasized a forceful and militarized response to the social unrest sparked by the death of Floyd and others. Opinion polls show widespread concerns among Americans about police brutality.

The executive order encourages police departments to employ the latest standards for use of force, improve information sharing so that officers with poor records are not hired without their backgrounds being known, and add social workers to law enforcement responses to non-violent cases involving drug addiction and homelessness, officials said.

Trump reiterated on Tuesday that he opposes calls to “defund the police” by reimagining or even dismantling police departments. Leading Democrats, including presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden, have not embraced such calls, but Republicans have jumped on the issue.

READ MORE: Trump floats unfounded theory that 75-year-old protester pushed by police is Antifa

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The Democratic-led House of Representatives is expected to vote later this month on sweeping legislation put forward by the Congressional Black Caucus to rein in police misconduct.

Senate Republicans are expected to unveil their own legislation on Wednesday that concentrates more on data collection than on policy changes in areas involving lethal force.

Democrats want to allow victims of misconduct and their families to sue police, an idea that Republicans oppose. Republicans, meanwhile, are pushing to reduce job protections for members of law enforcement unions. The two sides also are at odds over a Democratic proposal to ban police chokeholds.

Some Republicans say the two sides are so far apart on key issues that no final action is likely until after the July 4 holiday.

Click to play video 'Trump says ‘Americans believe’ accountability, transparency part of needed police reform' Trump says ‘Americans believe’ accountability, transparency part of needed police reform
Trump says ‘Americans believe’ accountability, transparency part of needed police reform – Jun 16, 2020

Attorney General William Barr, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Tim Scott, who is developing the Republican legislation, attended Tuesday’s White House signing.

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One civil rights group said Trump’s action did not go far enough.

“While the order takes some steps forward, it is an inadequate response to a nation demanding sweeping, bold action,” Vanita Gupta, head of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said in a statement.