Biden proposed "Police Officer's Bill of Rights" two months after Rodney King beating

Sensing upcoming unrest, lawmakers in Washington began to act. In May 1991, Biden authored a Senate bill that would have provided greater protections to cops accused of misconduct. The ” Police Officer’s Bill of Rights Act” aimed at strengthening protections when law enforcement officers were accused of misconduct. The law contained measures that would have streamlined all police misconduct investigations nationwide, ensuring that every department followed identical standards.

The bill also would have restricted when and how misconduct investigations could take place, such as limiting interviews to one interrogator at a time and requiring that lawyer represent the officer in question. State and city governments would also have been forbidden from questions regarding an officer’s finances or asking about the finances of their family.

The bill also would have authorized “a cause of action in State court by the officer for recovery of damages and full reinstatement against a law enforcement agency that materially violates rights afforded under this Act, subject to specified limitations.”