(NBC News) Democrats from the House and Senate kneeled silently for 8 minutes and 46 seconds on Capitol Hill Monday, the length of time a Minneapolis police officer pinned George Floyd’s neck under his knee in the final moments of Floyd’s life.
Lawmakers then unveiled new police reform legislation inspired by Floyd’s death and the weeks of protest that have followed.
It includes bans on choke-holds and no-knock warrants and a national database to track police misconduct.
At the White House, where a newly-constructed fence has become a canvas for memorials to George Floyd, President Trump huddled with law enforcement leaders and tweeted “Law and order, not defund and abolish the police.”
“You eliminate police officers, you will have chaos crime and anarchy in the streets and that’s unacceptable to the President,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany later told reporters.
Defunding and disbanding police agencies became a rallying cry of protesters nationwide, and a majority of the Minneapolis City Council is pledging to dismantle its police department and recreate public safety systems, while the mayor of New York has vowed to cut NYPD funding for the first time and redirect that money to other community resources.
“We’ve got work to do, there is no question,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Seattle’s police chief, meanwhile, says she supports more funding for social services, but stresses police will always be needed.
“Who is going to take the calls to domestic violence, internet crimes against children, rape, robbery?” Chief Carmen Best asks.