The only Republican to vote yes for a Democrat police reform bill in the House of Representatives said he did so by accident, and has changed his vote in the record.
“I accidentally pressed the wrong voting button and realized it too late,” Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Texas) wrote in a tweet that he later deleted. “I have changed the official record to reflect my opposition to the partisan George Floyd Policing Act.”
Gooden shared a photograph of himself holding a piece of paper, titled “personal explanation,” in which he said he “intended to vote no.”
“I have arguably the most conservative/America First voting record in Congress! Of course I wouldn’t support the radical left’s Anti-Police Act. I have changed the official record to reflect my opposition!” he wrote on Twitter.
According to GovTrack’s ideology score, Gooden is the 36th most conservative representative.
The Democratic-controlled House passed the legislation, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020, by a vote of 220–212.
Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody last year after being arrested for allegedly using fake money at a convenience store. His death was ruled a homicide and four police officers involved in the arrest are facing charges for his death.
The record shows that Gooden and 219 Democrats voted yes for the bill, while 210 Republicans and two Democrats—Reps. Jared Golden (D-Maine) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.) voted no.
Kind hasn’t explained his vote.
Golden said in a statement, “Every American should be treated equally before the law, regardless of race, gender, economic status, or any other factor. Our country needs to reckon with the racism and inequality which have persisted for far too long. And there must be accountability for gross negligence in the use of force by a law enforcement officer like what took place in Minneapolis with the killing of George Floyd.”
Golden argued the bill “includes many good provisions” but that last year, when the bill was passed in the previous Congress, he held “significant concerns about how the House bill eliminated qualified immunity protections for law enforcement officers.”
“Unfortunately, there have been no negotiations since the legislation’s first passage, and the bill before us retains those same problematic changes. Because I understand what it is like to make split-second, life-and-death decisions under pressure, and out of respect for the difficult decisions confronting law enforcement officers in the line of duty, I will not support this legislation today,” he wrote.
Qualified immunity protects law enforcement officers from most lawsuits.
Golden said he believes that the Supreme Court should examine qualified immunity, but not eliminate it entirely.