Written by Rita Thompson
It’s been just over three weeks since [former] police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the neck of, and killed, George Floyd on May 25th, 2020.
As anger and hurt continue to grow, protests are going strong across the U.S. and the rest of the world over the loss of Floyd and countless other Black lives.
Many are quick to deem protests nothing more than “absolute chaos.” However, while the death of Floyd may be an immediate trigger, the roots of this anger and unrest run much, much deeper.
Even so, some, like comedian Leslie Jones, feel that “[protesting] is not going to work.”
It is time to view things with a broader lens. If you’re wondering how protests can lead to change, take a look at the list below.
- Four officers are fired from the Minneapolis Police Department for murdering George Floyd.
“Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” said the city’s Mayor in a statement on Facebook.
- The University of Minnesota cancels their contract with police. The university will no longer look to the city’s police department department for help in large-scale events like football games, concerts and ceremonies.
- The Minneapolis – St. Paul chapter of the Amalgamated Transit Union, or ATU Local 1005, refuses to transport police officers to protests, or transport arrested protesters.
As stated in a letter posted to social media, “In ATU we have a saying ‘NOT ONE MORE’ when dealing with driver assaults which in some cases have led to members being murdered while doing their jobs,” it read. “We say ‘NOT ONE MORE’ execution of a Black life by the hands of police.”
- Former Minneapolis Police Officer, Derek Chauvin, is arrested for the killing of George Floyd.
- Louisville, Kent. Mayor Greg Fischer temporarily suspends “no-knock” warrants. This prevents police officers from bursting into a home without giving notice.
- U.S. Embassies across Africa condemn the murder of Floyd.
We are deeply troubled by the death of Mr. George Floyd in Minneapolis. The U.S. Department of Justice is conducting a full criminal investigation as a top priority. Law enforcement officials must be held accountable in every country.
— U.S. Embassy Nairobi (@USEmbassyKenya) May 29, 2020
- Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison takes over the prosecution of any cases arising from the death of Goerge Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
This change came after the Minneapolis delegation sent a letter to Gov. Tim Walz stating: “Unfortunately, our constituents, especially constituents of color, have lost faith in the ability of Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to fairly and impartially investigate and prosecute these cases.”
- The Transport Workers Union Local 100 bus operators refuse to transport arrested protestors.
According to The Chief, TWU President John Samuelsen said that he supports the bus operator’s refusal to transport people arrested in Brooklyn as an assertion of members’ rights rather than, “a slight of the police.”
- Two Atlanta police officers are fired after using “excessive force” against college students Messiah Young and Taniyah Pilgrim during protests. Sgt. Lonnie Hood and Officer Armon Jones were caught breaking the windows of a vehicle, yanking the woman out, and tasing the man.
- The Minnesota Public School Board votes to end its contract with police.
“We cannot continue to be in partnership with an organization that has the culture of violence and racism that the Minneapolis Police Department has historically demonstrated,” said school board member, Nelson Inz, according to The Guardian. “We have to stand in solidarity with our Black students.”
- A statue of Confederate soldier, Charles Linn, is removed from Birmingham, AL. Mayor Randall Woodfinremoval insisted on the removal, regardless of a civil lawsuit from Attorney General Steve Marshall, who says that the removal violated Alabama’s monument preservation law.
“I chose my city to avoid more civil unrest,” Woodfin told NBC. “It’s probably better for this city to pay this civil fine than to have more civil unrest.”
- California prosecutors launch a campaign to stop district attorneys from accepting police union money. The campaign is intended to help prevent conflict-of-interest that arise from California district attorneys and DA candidates taking campaign cash from police unions.
- Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum agrees to not renew the city’s contract with the TV show, Live PD. After a “We Can’t Breath” coalition explained that the TV show commercializes policing, Bynum agreed to find a better, non-profit alternative for highlighting Tulsa’s Police work.
- Louisville, Kent. Police chief is fired after officials discovered that the police officers involved in the fatal shooting of David McAtee had not activated their body cameras. Police shot McAtee on June 1st, 2020 while trying to disperse protesters outside of his BBQ joint.
- Lawmakers begin a bipartisan push to end police access to military weaponry. This push comes amid excessive crackdowns on protests and would prevent police departments from acquiring equipment like bayonets and grenade launchers.
- The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organization (AFL-CIO) calls for the resignation of Minnesota Police Union President Bob Kroll. Kroll has a known reputation for bigoted remarks and complaints of violence against him.
- ATU Local 85 announces refusal to transport police officers or arrested protestors.
- A controversial statue of ex-Mayor Frank Rizzo is removed from Philadelphia. Rizzo’s long history of hatred against racial and LGBTQ+ rights has deemed the statue the target of vandalism and petitions for removal for over 30 years.
- The six fired officers are charged for the violence against protestors in Atlanta, GA. (See: May 31st).
- A Confederate soldier statue is removed from an old town Intersection in Alexandria, VA.
- The Minnesota Human Rights Department launches a civil rights investigation into the Minnesota Police Department.
According to StarTribune, the investigation will look at police policies and procedures from the past 10 years to, “determine if police engaged in discriminatory practices.”
- San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin and Supervisor Shamann Walton announce a resolution to prevent law enforcement from hiring officers with a history of misconduct.
“Across the nation, we have seen the repeated failures of our legal system to hold police accountable for the violence, abuse, and even murders committed against people of color and especially Black people,” reads the DA’s website.
- The New Jersey state Attorney General announces policing reforms that include licensing police officers in the same way as the state does with doctors, teachers, and lawyers.
- Minneapolis city council members call to disband the police and replace it with a public safety model and outreach.
City council member, Steve Fletcher, expressed in a Time article that, “Our city needs a public safety capacity that doesn’t fear our residents. That doesn’t need a gun at a community meeting. That considers itself part of our community. That doesn’t resort quickly to pepper spray when people are understandably angry. That doesn’t murder black people.”
- A police officer in Denver, CO is fired for tweets promoting violence against protestors. The former officer captioned a photo showing himself and two other officers in riot gear with the phrase, “Let’s start a riot.”
- The Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Institute of Art end their use of the Minneapolis Police Department for events.
- Officer Derek Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder and taken into custody.
- Charges against Officer Chauvin are upgraded to second-degree murder, and the remaining three officers involved in Floyd’s death are charged and taken into custody.
- Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announces the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
“It’s time to replace the racist symbols of oppression and inequality,” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said during the announcement. “Richmond is no longer the capital of the Confederacy.”
- The Minnesota Parks and Recreation Board unanimously voted to cut ties with the Minneapolis Police Department. This will cut off the use of MPD officers at park events.
- Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announces $100-150 million cut from LAPD budget. These funds will be reinvested into communitie of color, jobs, education, and healing.
- Public schools in Portland, Ore. discontinue the presence of police officers in schools. Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero said on Twitter that public schools needed to “re-examine our relationship with the PPB.”
The time is now. With new proposed investments in direct student supports (social workers, counselors, culturally-specific partnerships & more), I am discontinuing the regular presence of School Resource Officers @PPSConnect. We need to re-examine our relationship with the PPB.
— Guadalupe Guerrero (@Super_GGuerrero) June 4, 2020
- The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Board announces that buses won’t transport police to protests, or protestors to police.
- The King County Labor Council tells police unions to address racism in the Seattle Police Department, or be removed.
“We’re worried about the ways in which a police union does not offer accountability for police officers but obscures and obstructs accountability for them,” said Jiménez Guerra, a teacher at the White Center and union member, to Cross Cut.
To those out fighting for equality, keep your foot on the gas. This is only the beginning.