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Psaki: Biden Believes the Bar for Convicting Officers Is ‘Too High’ and ‘Needs To Be Changed’

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President Joe Biden believes that the standard for convicting officers should be lowered, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says.

During a press briefing on Wednesday, Psaki said, “[Biden] believes the bar for convicting officers is far too high. It needs to be changed.”

“He’s a strong supporter, as he also conveyed passionately last night, of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act which does change the intent standard,” she added.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would lower the criminal intent standard for conviction from “willful to knowing or reckless.”

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Psaki’s comments come after the jury in former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial found him guilty on three counts of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree “depraved mind” murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

While the celebrations broke out following the rare conviction of a police officer, officers are rarely convicted in connection to an on-duty fatal shooting.

Since 2005, there have been 139 officers arrested in connection with fatal shootings and 44 have been convicted.

As Vox notes, in that time frame, seven officers — not counting Chauvin — have been convicted of murder, while the other 37 were convicted on charges of manslaughter or misconduct. Additionally, there are roughly 1,000 fatal police shootings each year in the U.S.

The New York Times’ David Leonhardt explained that means the chance of a jury convicting a cop on charges of murder is roughly one in 2,000.

In remarks after Chauvin’s guilty verdict was announced, Biden said, “We have a chance to begin to change the trajectory in this country. It’s my hope and prayer that we live up to the legacy.”

“This can be a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America,” he added.

In a statement, former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama said in a statement that the jury “did the right thing.”

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However, they said, “We cannot rest. We will need to follow through with the concrete reforms that will reduce and ultimately eliminate racial bias in our criminal justice systems.”

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