Sen. Tim Scott discusses police reform legislation with George Floyd's brother, advocates

Sen. Scott on reaction to his Biden rebuttal, potential presidential run, racial division

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., joins 'Fox & Friends' following his Republican rebuttal to President Biden's address to Congress.

Police reform advocates, including George Floyd's brother, spent Thursday on Capitol Hill meeting with Sen. Tim Scott and other lawmakers to advance legislation to tackle police brutality.

Floyd family attorney Ben Crump said family members want meaningful federal legislation that "prevents the next George Floyd."

Scott, fresh off delivering the GOP rebuttal to President Biden's first address to Congress, said he remained optimistic on finding a path forward on police legislation that can be passed into law.

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"What the family members who spoke to me want is progress that they can measure in a meaningful way," Scott said. "We are going to continue to work on what that looks like. And I'm glad that they are willing to stay engaged."

Scott, R-S.C., is leading the effort for Republicans to forge a bipartisan compromise with Democrats on new legislation to hold officers accountable amid a public outcry for reforms since Floyd died while in Minneapolis police custody during an arrest last year. The former officer who held his knee to Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes, Derek Chauvin, was convicted of murder this month.

Scott and Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., met with various family members who lost loved ones at the hands of police officers.

The group included Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd; Alissa Finley, the sister of Botham Jean who was killed in 2018 by off-duty Dallas Police officer Amber Guyger; Tiffany Crutcher, the sister of Terence Crutcher who shot and killed in 2016 by police officer Betty Jo Shelby in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner who died in 2014 after New York City Police Department (NYPD) Officer Daniel Pantaleo put him a chokehold during an arrest.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represented the George Floyd family, is joined by family members of victims of racial injustice following a meeting with Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who is working on a police reform bill in the Senate, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, April 29, 2021. At left are Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, and Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner who was killed by a New York Police Department officer using a prohibited chokehold during his arrest.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The families also met with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.

Crump called the meetings "very emotional" as the families talked from the heart about the loss of their loved ones and the need to prevent more deaths.

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There's been disagreement among Democrats and Republicans on what meaningful reform would entail. Sticking points are over whether police reform legislation should strip individual police officers of qualified immunity that shields them from civil lawsuits and whether to lower the standard under Section 242 of the U.S. Code to criminally convict police officers for misconduct.

But in a sign of progress, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle later Thursday huddled in Scott's office after the conversations with the family members to discuss a path forward. They emerged from this second meeting optimistic about finding a solution.

"We will definitely meet until we get it done," Booker said.

This meeting was attended by Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., who authored the police reform legislation that passed the House, Graham, Scott, Booker, and Sen. Dick Durbin, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

From left, Keeta Floyd, her husband Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd who was killed by Minneapolis police, Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner who was killed by a New York Police Department officer using a prohibited chokehold during his arrest, and civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represented the family George Floyd, talk to reporters following a meeting with Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who is working on a police reform bill in the Senate, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, April 29, 2021. 

From left, Keeta Floyd, her husband Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd who was killed by Minneapolis police, Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner who was killed by a New York Police Department officer using a prohibited chokehold during his arrest, and civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represented the family George Floyd, talk to reporters following a meeting with Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who is working on a police reform bill in the Senate, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, April 29, 2021.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The House already passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to overhaul standards for police tactics and conduct at the federal level.

Prominent measures include a federal ban on no-knock warrants and chokeholds, limits on qualified immunity shielding police from civil lawsuits, a framework to prevent racial profiling and the establishment of a national registry on allegations of police misconduct.

But the legislation faced opposition from Republicans in the Senate over eliminating the qualified immunity provision for officers and making it easier to prosecute police by lowering the Section 242 standard of misconduct from "willfulness" to "recklessness."

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Biden has backed the House version of the police accountability legislation. During his joint address to Congress Wednesday, he urged lawmakers to "find a consensus" to pass reforms and he set a deadline of May 25.

"Let’s get it done next month," he said, "by the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death."

Fox News' Kelly Phares and Caroline McKee contributed to this report.

Marisa Schultz Fox News