Some legislation on police reform is possible, even if it is not comprehensive, Sen. Cory Booker told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday.
"I'm sobered about the belief that we can get a big comprehensive bill done. But can we get something done? I believe we can," said the New Jersey Democrat, who is among the leaders on police reform legislation in Congress.
"I'm not giving up in this work, and I'm having constructive conversations with people on the other side of the aisle."
Booker said, "I have been in conversations all week with people on both sides of the Capitol and both sides of the aisle, with police leaders, national police leaders, national police union leaders, as well as civil rights activists that all want to get something done that could advance the cause of not just police reform but raising standards, creating more transparency and more accountability."
Politico reported that even though widespread bipartisan talks on police reform fell apart in 2021, these discussions have gone on, especially following the death last month of Tyre Nichols, a Black man, after Memphis police beat him.
"I think that there are a lot of folks across the aisle that understand that this is a moral moment. America is seeing more and more because of body cameras and other technology," Booker told "Meet The Press."
He added, "We are seeing the horror of unarmed people, handcuffed people in the case of the tragic murder of Tyre Nichols. We're seeing things that do not comport with our national standards and expectations. And we are a nation right now that should set the global standard for professionalism policing, and we are falling short of that to the horror of more and more Americans. And so I know that this might not be a divided Congress."
Booker also said he met with Sen. Lindsey Graham last week and that the South Carolina Republican expressed "encouraging things" on qualified immunity — the doctrine that defends law enforcement officers from liability in many instances and that has been a sticking point in past negotiations.
"When you hear encouraging things from people like him, it gives me the sense that we could do something possibly in the Senate," Booker said, although he cautioned that "passing a bill in the Senate, as we found out with immigration reform about 10 years ago, doesn't mean it will pass in the House."
The senator said, "I want to get something to the president's desk that will make Americans safer, that will give more confidence in American policing and more transparency and accountability when things go wrong, or to stop things from going wrong. And that's the goal here. And we've got the Senate negotiations, and this is why I'm working in such strong partnership with the Congressional Black Caucus and other people in the House of Representatives to try to make sure we can get something all the way to the president's desk."
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