Trump says he will sign executive order Tuesday on policing

Allan Smith and Geoff Bennett and Shannon Pettypiece

On Wednesday, the day after this article was published, President Donald Trump signed the executive order. That story is here.

President Donald Trump announced he will sign an executive order Tuesday on police reform amid increased pressure after the death of George Floyd.

The package would create a database to track police officers with multiple instances of misconduct and include language encouraging police departments to involve mental health professionals when dealing with issues of homelessness, mental illness and addiction, a senior administration official told reporters. The order would also use federal grants to incentivize departments to meet certain certification standards on use of force, the official said.

The measure is intended to “have the discussion the country needs to have so we can turn the anger in the country into action and hope,” the official said.

Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview on Fox News' "Fox and Friends" on Tuesday that the president is taking the action "to assure the American people that we're listening."

"We're supporting law enforcement," Pence said. "We're not going to defund the police, quite the contrary. We're going to find new resources to help departments obtain certifications to improve standards for the use of force, improve training on de-escalation, and that's exactly what the American people want us to do."

Trump is also expected to call on Congress to pass additional legislation, the official said. The executive order doesn't address broader concerns raised by police reform advocates about racism and racial stereotypes in policing.

Speaking at a White House roundtable on protecting senior citizens earlier Monday, Trump declined to offer details on what would be in the order other than to say that he will stand alongside law enforcement officers when he announces it and that his administration took in suggestions from multiple law enforcement agencies.

"The overall goal is we want law and order, and we want it done fairly, justly, we want it done safely," Trump told reporters in the White House. "But we want law and order. It's about law and order. But it's about justice also, and it's about safety."

Trump added that his executive order will be "very comprehensive," though "certainly we can add on to what we do" with legislative efforts underway in both the House and Senate.

Earlier Tuesday, civil rights attorney S. Lee Merritt told NBC News he is scheduled to join Trump and Attorney General William Barr in the Rose Garden on Tuesday for the signing ceremony. Merritt said all three men will deliver statements.

Merritt, who represents a number of Black families who've had loved ones die in encounters with police, said the executive order includes language acknowledging systemic racism in policing.

Both Merritt and White House adviser Ja’Ron Smith told NBC News the president also intends to meet Tuesday with Black families who have been affected by police violence. No press will be allowed into the meeting, Merritt said.

Speaking with reporters Monday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said the executive order "includes a number of principles that are important to, I think, the communities and to the police force."

Trump has been under pressure in light of weeks worth of protests across the country following Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody. A white officer was seen on video digging his knee into Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes as he cried out for mercy, continuing to hold his knee on Floyd's neck as he became unconscious.

Trump has amplified instances of looting or rioting that have taken place in recent weeks, and has repeatedly posted "LAW & ORDER" on his Twitter account. The president even promoted a conspiracy theory last week that a 75-year-old protester in Buffalo, New York, who was knocked to the ground by police and could be seen bleeding from his head, was "antifa."

As NBC News reported last week, the policing policies are being coordinated by White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who are coordinating with lawmakers and Department of Justice officials.

Some of the policies under discussion overlapped with proposals introduced by House Democrats, including the database. Democratic legislation also bans chokeholds and would make it easier for people to recover damages when police departments violate their civil rights.

On the Republican side, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina is leading the GOP's legislative charge on policing policy.

"Is there a path forward that we can take to look at the necessity of eliminating bad behavior within our law enforcement community?" he told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. "Is there a path forward? I think we'll find that."