McConnell Selects Tim Scott to Lead GOP Police Reform Legislation

June 10, 2020 Updated: June 10, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has selected Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.)—the only black Republican in the Senate—to lead the Republican effort for police reform legislation.

“I’ve asked Sen. Tim Scott to lead a group that is working on a proposal to allow us to respond to the obvious racial discrimination that we’ve seen on full display on our television screens over the last two weeks,” McConnell said on Tuesday.

“None of us have had the experience of being an African American in this country and dealing with this discrimination, which persists here some 50 years after the 1964 Civil Rights bill,” he said. “The best way for Senate Republicans to go forward on this is to listen to one of our own, who’s had these experiences.”

mitch mcconnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) speaks to reporters following the Senate Republicans weekly policy lunch on Capitol Hill in Washington, on June 9, 2020. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

“With his guidance and leadership we’re going to come together with a proposal that we think makes the most sense,” McConnell said, referring to Scott.

“We’re still wrestling with America’s original sin. We try to get better, but every now and then it’s perfectly clear we’re a long way from the finish line,” McConnell said.

Scott said he hoped to have a bill by Friday. He said the bill would include anti-lynching legislation, a review of no-knock warrants, and funding for more police body cameras.

Sen. Shelley Capito (R-W.Va.) said that the legislation does not include a federal ban on police use of chokeholds, cited in last month’s arrest of George Floyd, whose death in police custody has triggered protests across the nation.

Floyd died as a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost 9 minutes. The officer has been charged with second-degree murder.

McConnell’s announcement comes after Democrats announced on June 8 their police reform bill, which is set for a vote this month.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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