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Scott slams Democrats on police reform negotiations

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott accused Democrats of squandering a "crucial opportunity" to complete police...
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott accused Democrats of squandering a "crucial opportunity" to complete police reform Wednesday.
Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 3:47 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (WCSC/AP) - U.S. Sen. Tim Scott accused Democrats of squandering a “crucial opportunity” to complete police reform Wednesday.

The Republican released a statement after he said Democrats walked away from the negotiation table, saying he was “deeply disappointed.”

“Crime will continue to increase while safety decreases and more officers are going to walk away from the force because my negotiating partners walked away from the table,” Scott said.

He said he made a promise to never walk away from the table because walking away means “we’ve given up on the communities and officers whose lives hang in the balance.”

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker told reporters earlier on Wednesday that bargainers were not making progress on issues like whether to hold individual officers personally liable for abusive behavior.

Booker says there were also unresolved differences over raising professional standards and collecting data on police use of force.

“The areas where we agreed—banning chokeholds, limiting the transfer of military equipment, increased mental health resources, and more—would have brought justice to these families,” Scott said. “Defunding the police destabilizes our communities. Change requires resources. I offered to introduce a bill that included our areas of compromise—a bill that activists and law enforcement alike could have supported. Despite having plenty of agreement, Democrats said no because they could not let go of their push to defund our law enforcement. Once again, the Left let their misguided idea of perfect be the enemy of good, impactful legislation.”

Scott called “reverting to a partisan approach to score political points” “just plain wrong,” accusing Democrats of pursuing a partisan route “to create problems in search of solutions.”

The breakdown marks an unproductive end to an effort that began after killings of unarmed Black people by officers sparked protests across the U.S.

Copyright 2021 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.