As a crucial vote on the Senate’s criminal justice reform bill loomed Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott introduced an amendment that would withhold federal money from states that fail to maintain data on officer-involved shootings.
The junior Republican from South Carolina authored the Walter Scott Notification Act, named for the motorist who was shot and killed by a North Charleston police officer after fleeing a traffic stop.
Late Tuesday night, the Senate passed the bill that addressed concerns that the nation’s war on drugs had led to the imprisonment of too many Americans for non-violent crimes without adequately preparing them for their return to society.
Scott's amendment, however, did not get traction and did not become a part of the final package.
The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 87-12. The outcome was hailed by scores of conservative and liberal advocacy groups. The House is expected to pass the bill this week, sending it to President Trump’s desk for his signature.
Scott’s amendment had stipulated that any state receiving federal law-enforcement funding must collect and preserve key data tied to such incidents, including name, race, description of the event and overall circumstances that led to the weapon being discharged, Scott’s office said.
States that do not comply would have been subject to a 10-percent reduction in federal grant funds, the amendment stated.
“This week’s criminal justice reform package provides us with an amazing opportunity to ensure the scales of justice are weighted equally for all Americans,” Scott said before the final vote was held.
“By giving us a deeper understanding of situations that lead to officer-related shootings, I believe the Walter Scott Notification Act can keep both our law enforcement officers and our communities safer.”
Walter Scott, the amendment’s namesake, was shot April 4, 2015, by former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager, who later pleaded guilty to violating Walter Scott’s civil rights.
Slager is serving a 20-year prison sentence.
Sen. Scott and Walter Scott are not related.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.