Police defunding, Confederate statue beheading and more!
After the death of an unarmed Black man named George Floyd, demonstrations have swept the nation demanding justice for all victims of police brutality. If you didn’t already know, when protesters say “no justice, no peace,” they mean it.
Protests spread throughout all 50 states, reaching at least 1,600 places. Some even escalated into riots. Footage of thick clouds of teargas, injured protesters and the sound of rubber bullets being fired instantly flooded social media platforms.
After two weeks of protesting, America has a stack full of justice already being served. And we’re just getting started.
Justice for George Floyd
Derek Chauvin went having from NO charges for the killing of George Floyd to getting charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. Plus, the other three officers who were present and chose not to intervene were charged with aiding and abetting murder.
Prior to the charges being upgraded, protesters rigorously took to the streets and to their timelines to demand justice.
So yeah, protesters aren’t kidding when they say “no justice, no peace.”
With that being said, the fight against corruption and injustice didn’t start with the police officers responsible for George Floyd’s death, and it won’t end with them either.
Steps Forward In Louisville For Breonna Taylor
The newly passed Breonna’s Law in Louisville, Kentucky banned “no-knock warrants,” which previously allowed law enforcement to forcibly enter Breonna Taylor’s, a Black medical worker, home without warning. After barging into Taylor’s home unannounced, police shot her eight times.
Now, when Louisville police serve warrants they must have body cameras turned on and must start recording at least five minutes before they begin an operation. The detective who applied for the “no-knock warrant” to enter Breonna’s home unannounced, Joshua Jaynes, was placed on administrative reassignment.
Breonna Taylor’s name became a staple name of the Black Lives Matter movement. In videos of protests taking place in numerous cities across the United States, protesters emotionally chanted Breonna Taylor’s name. So yeah, it makes sense why Louisville decided to make some changes. Now, they just need to lock up the officers who shot her.
Social Media Promoting Police Accountability
After a video of Atlanta police officers forcing their way into a couple’s car made rounds on social media, six officers were fired from the Atlanta police department. In the video, the cops dragged the two college students out of their car, tased and then detained them. Many people are questioning if these officers would have been held accountable in the first place if the footage were not released online.
This Saturday, about one week later, Atlanta’s police chief resigned less than 24 hours after Atlanta police shot a Black man who they found asleep in his vehicle at the drive-through of a Wendy’s parking lot.
In Denver, a police officer was fired after posting a picture of him and his police buddies dressed in protective gear with the caption, “let’s start a riot.”
Also caught on video and spread on social media, two policemen shoved a 75-year-old protester to the ground, which caused him to bleed out onto the pavement. The two officers were suspended without pay and charged with second-degree assault — which is great news!
However, 57 members of the police department’s emergency response team officers then resigned in protest of the officers’ suspension. Talk about “a few bad apples,” huh?
Regardless, for those of you wondering if reposting injustices can actually make a difference, the answer is yes.
These Confederate Stones Can’t Break Anymore Bones
We don’t want America’s racist past to repeat itself. Ergo, protesters across the country have beheaded and removed Confederate statues and symbols of white supremacy that have haunted this country for far too long.
A statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was torn down during a protest in Richmond, Virginia. Even protesters abroad have torn down and vandalized Confederate statues and other historically racist sculptures. For example, a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, UK, was pulled off its ledge by protesters and then dumped into the Avon River.
Google Maps even changed the location of the statue to the bottom of the river (nice move!) The statue was pulled out of the river on Thursday morning by city council workers to be placed in a “secure location.” (SMH, they better not put it on display.)
Confederate statues aren’t the only figures protesters have their eyes on. In Boston, Miami and Virginia, protesters decided to put their own artistic spins on statues of Christopher Columbus. Spraypainted, toppled over and beheaded, the infamous colonizer’s statues are no longer safe.
To prevent future beheading or river-dumping, cities have ordered other Confederate statues to be removed, such as a confederate monument in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Who knows if every statue will be toppled? But as long as protesters continue to ramp up their efforts to bring attention to their cause, these statues better sleep with one eye open.
Defunding The Police
Lawmakers and city officials are finally starting to feel the pressure. We’re seeing a bipartisan effort to revoke police access to military gear, a crazy rare sight among the divided lawmakers in Congress.
A San Francisco resolution is in the works to prohibit officers with a history of misconduct from being hired by other police departments, hopefully curbing the use of excessive force and dishonest reporting.
New Jersey and Richmond, Virginia announced plans for police reform initiatives, including expanding use-of-force databases.
LA mayor Eric Garcetti announced that they would be cutting $100-150 million from the LAPD’s proposed budget and reallocating those funds to better support the community and reduce the need for police in LA.
One of the boldest moves in police reform is the complete disbandment of the Minneapolis Police Department. The city council unanimously voted to defund the MPD and replace it with a community public safety model. This will reduce the need for police presence in the city and promote a stronger, healthier community.
Good riddance, Minneapolis Police Department!
Overall, lawmakers are starting to catch on to the needs and demands of their constituents. The overwhelming call for change is finally becoming concrete; protests are enacting real change in marginalized communities all over the country.
This enormous response to police brutality is definitely one for the history books.
These protests are proof that silence cannot be tolerated if we’re going to make real progress against a corrupt and unjust system.
Pressuring our government for change, whether via social media or physical protests, works. Full stop. So until justice is rightfully served, we will continue to push for the equitable and fair system that our Black and Brown communities deserve.
Christelle Pierre is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. When not writing, one can find Christelle holding a YA novel in one hand and an iced coffee in the other. She can be reached on Instagram @x.hristelle.