Every Protest, Removed Statue and Police Reform Policy Change Since Late May – Next City

Every Protest, Removed Statue and Police Reform Policy Change Since Late May

Black Lives Matter protest in Washington, D.C., June 6, 2020 (Photo by Geoff Livingston / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Since the end of May, cities across the country have been in active resistance. On February 23, Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down in Brunswick, Georgia; the police department failed to arrest the father-son duo, or their friend who filmed the encounter, until social media amplified the killing to a national audience. This death was followed by that of Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her Louisville home by police on March 13th. George Floyd was arrested and killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25. (Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder, but that charge was changed to second-degree murder five days later.) Two days after Floyd’s killing, transgender man Tony McDade was shot and killed by the police in Tallahassee, Florida.

These cases over the last few months have been the most recent examples of a continued pattern of U.S. police-sponsored killings of black people. But for many communities across the country, George Floyd’s death symbolized the final straw.

We have collected examples here of change taking place around the country — change initiated by widespread ongoing protests across all 50 states. These protests, led overwhelmingly by black and brown people, have forced America into a national reckoning over structural racism.

While this list is by no means comprehensive, it is intended to be a start at collecting the ways in which communities are taking action. (Let us know if we missed something in your community.)

Editor’s note: We’ve updated this post with actions taken in the past two weeks. We’ve also added a map by RomoGIS documenting where protests have taken place across the country.

(Map courtesy Frank Romo and Malcolm MacLachlan of RomoGIS. RomoGIS is an organization specializing in using Geospatial technologies to to support local communities in their fight for justice through advocacy, data analysis, and geospatial training.)

Nationwide

June 8: The United States Conference of Mayors has formed The Police Reform and Racial Justice Working Group in an effort to address widespread racial discrimination and police violence.

June 8: House and Senate Democrats present “Justice in Policing Act,” which has the proposed goal of eliminating race-based violence against the Black community through federally banning no-knock drug warrants and chokeholds.

June 10: Even though chemical weapons are banned from use in war settings, it is legal for local police to use tear gas under the guise of crowd control. House Democrats introduced a bill that would ban the use of tear gas, called “Prohibiting Law Enforcement Use of Chemical Weapons Act,” and is being led by Democratic Representatives like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.

June 10: After failed attempts in 2015, Nascar has announced it will ban Confederate flags during races and on their property.

June 16: Trump holds national address regarding police reform and signs executive order that gives financial incentive to departments who follow through with certification that ensures subjective quality standards, creates a database of officers with a history of excessive force, and bans chokeholds, “except in the cases where the officer’s life is in danger.” The address included a clear stance against defunding the police and stressed the importance of “law and order.”

Alabama

June 2: The statue of Confederate soldier Charles Linn in Birmingham is vandalized. Protestors begin to destroy the statue on their own, but Mayor Randall Woodfin pleads for citizens to wait, vowing to “finish the job.” Which he did.

June 7: University of Alabama begins the process of removing Confederate plaques within campus.

July 8: Alabama lawmaker pre-files legislation to allow removal of Confederate monuments.

Arizona

June 9: Phoenix Police Department tweets that they will now ban the carotid control technique, also known as the “sleeper hold.”

California

June 4: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced plans to cut at least $100 million from the LAPD’s budget, funneling that money (in addition to another $100 million from other departments) into black communities.

June 9: Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey bans the use of sleeper holds by the DA’s Bureau of Investigation.

June 9: Berkeley City Council votes to ban the use of tear gas indefinitely, alongside San Francisco Mayor London Breed. Breed’s plan also includes directing non-violent calls to mental health professionals instead of the police.

June 18: Andres Guardado is shot and killed by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy.

June 22: Los Angeles City Council votes to downsize the police department to less than 10,000, cut the budget by over $133 million, and reduce overtime pay.

June 25: Los Angeles County’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority votes to reform transit policing, including hiring unarmed ambassadors and finding alternatives to armed law enforcement on buses and trains.

Colorado

June 7: Denver Police Department enacts policy changes, including the banning of chokeholds and the mandate of SWAT body cam usage.

Connecticut

June 15: Governor Ned Lamont signs an executive order that prohibits the purchase of military-style weapons, requires the use of body cams, and bans the use of excessive force, including chokeholds.

Washington, D.C.

May 30: “Y’all Not Tired Yet?” is painted on the Lincoln Memorial and “Do Black Vets Count?” is painted on the World War II Memorial on the National Mall.

June 5: Mayor Muriel Bowser in D.C. has 16th Street near the White House painted with the words “Black Lives Matter. “

June 9: Shortly after, that section of street was changed to Black Lives Matter Plaza. Bowser is introducing legislation to make this change permanent.

June 9: D.C. Council passes an emergency police reform bill that includes having body cam footage readily available after a police shooting. The Council has not made any moves to limit the size of the police force or defund the department.

June 10: Speaker Nancy Pelosi demands that Confederate statues be removed from the Capitol.

Florida

June 9: The Confederate monument that previously stood in Jacksonville’s Hemming park for the past 122 years was taken down. Mayor Lenny Curry promises to remove the remaining 11 in the city in the near future.

June 9: Broward Sheriff’s Office, serving the Ft. Lauderdale area, updates policies to be in line with #8CantWait initiative, including the ban on the use of chokeholds.

June 11: Miami-Dade police officers are now banned from using chokeholds.

Georgia

June 8: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms calls for expedited revision of use-of-force policy for the police department.

June 12: Rayshard Brooks is killed by Atlanta police officers Garrett Rolfe and Devin Bronson in a Wendy’s parking lot.

June 13: Dashcam footage of the killing of Brooks is released, and the Wendy’s is set on fire.

June 16: Mayor Lance Bottoms vows to sign police reform bills.

June 17: Fulton County DA charges former police officer Garrett Rolfe with 11 counts, including felony murder. Officer Devin Bronson has been charged with three counts, including aggravated assault.

June 23: Georgia legislature passes a hate crime bill.

July 7: Commissioners in Henry County, southeast of Atlanta, vote to remove the Confederate statue in McDonough Square.

July 7: Atlanta City Council passes “8 Can’t Wait” police reform bill, which bans chokeholds, requires de-escalation strategies, and more. (Many activists believe that 8 Can’t Wait is “flawed and misleading” and that cities must go farther.)

Illinois

June 8: Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot preps for announcement around police reform, alluding to potential change in police contracts and adding state licensure requirements.

Indiana

June 8: In Garfield Park, in Indianapolis, the statue commemorating the lives of Confederate soldiers who died in a union camp was removed.

Iowa

June 11: Governor Kim Reynolds bans chokeholds except when an officer’s “life is in danger.”

Kentucky

June 2: David McAtee was killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky, the same city where Breonna Taylor was killed. The officers responsible for McAtee’s killing have been placed on administrative leave, and Mayor Greg Fischer fired the police chief after learning that the officers never turned on their body cameras. Deputy Chief Robert Schroeder confirms that both the state police department and the National Guard will be conducting an investigation of the incident.

June 3: Breonna Taylor’s case was reopened.

June 8: Confederate soldier John B. Castleman’s statue was taken down.

June 8: “Breonna’s Law” is passed, banning no-knock warrants.

June 13: 84-year-old Jefferson Davis statue is removed from Louisville.

June 23: Detective Brett Hankison is fired for his involvement in the shooting of Breonna Taylor.

Massachusetts

May 31: Boston protestors beheaded and vandalized a Christopher Columbus statue, along with monuments in three different Boston parks in one night.

Michigan

June 9: Detroit is a city with a long history of police misconduct, including the wrongful death of seven-year-old Aiyana Jones. The Detroit City Council is in support of the #8CantWait campaign and the National Justice in Policing Act, both pushing for heightened police officer accountability.

June 9: In a meeting with Mayor Mike Duggan and Police Chief James Craig, local organization Detroit Will Breathe submitted a list of demands including defunding and demilitarizing the Detroit police.

Minnesota

May 28: The University of Minnesota announces plans to cut ties with the Minneapolis police department. This includes ending contracts for large event enforcement. They also will refrain from calling on the department for their bomb detection and other services.

May 29: Derek Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder and second degree manslaughter. The maximum sentence for third-degree murder is 25 years, and the maximum for second-degree manslaughter is 10 years. While the final outcome depends on the future trial, Chauvin is the first white officer in Minnesota to be officially charged after the death of a black civilian.

May 31: A Minneapolis truck driver attempts to run through protestors, and is not charged.

June 3: The remaining three officers involved in the murder of Floyd are charged. Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng are facing charges of aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin’s charges were also upgraded to second degree unintentional murder.

June 5: The Minneapolis City Council calls for immediate reform of the police department, starting with the prohibition of chokeholds.

June 7: Minneapolis City Council announces plans to disband the police department, and to invest in community-based initiatives instead.

June 10: The Minneapolis police chief withdraws from current union negotiations in an effort to, “provide greater community transparency.”

June 10: The bronze statue of Christopher Columbus was taken down by community members with ropes and beheaded. Native Americans throughout the country have rejected Columbus as a hero and explorer, and were included in the dismantling of this statue.

June 10: Minneapolis police department withdraws from union contract negotiation, as the unions have served as a major source of opposition to police reform.

June 12: Minneapolis City Council unanimously votes to embark on a year-long process to cultivate safety in their city through, “community engagement, research, and structural change.”

Mississippi

May 30: Hollandale School District teacher Zachary Borenstein is arrested for vandalizing a Confederate statue on the campus of the University of Mississippi.

Missouri

July 6: Cape Girardeau City Council, 100 miles SE of St. Louis, vote 5-1 to remove Confederate statue.

New Jersey

June 11: City of Camden takes down “controversial” Farnham Park Columbus statue.

June 15: Assembly bill that would require New Jersey towns to form civilian review boards advances.

New York

June 1: NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea says that deaths during the protests are under investigation.

June 7: Though he has not changed his stance on confederate statues and defunding the police, Mayor De Blasio pledges to cut NYPD funding, funneling the finances to public schools. De Blasio’s 25-year-old daughter, who is black, was arrested for protesting, and De Blasio offered no comment during his briefing the following weekend.

June 8: New York state has major police reforms underway. A majority of bills, including chokehold bans, a ban on race-based profiling, and requiring police departments to track race- based data, have passed and are waiting on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature. It’s worth mentioning that chokeholds have been banned by NYPD since the 1990s but officers still use them, as in the killing of Eric Garner in 2014.

June 12: Governor Cuomo signs executive order requiring local police agencies to “develop a plan based on community input”.

June 15: The New York Police Department will disband their “anti-crime” unit, which consists of over 600 plainclothes officers that have been involved in several police shootings.

June 18: New York City Council passes a bundle of police reform bills, including a ban on “officers sitting, kneeling, or standing on a suspect’s chest or back” during an arrest and chokeholds. Because of the officers that refused to show their badge numbers during the demonstrations after Floyd’s death, a bill that prohibits this behavior was also passed.

June 30: New York City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio agree to shift $1 billion from NYPD, but some councilmembers said the cuts went too far. Others, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, called the cuts “funny math” and argued that the budget simply moved money around but did not defund the police.

North Carolina

May 30: Fayetteville community members light The Market House, a previous site of slave auctions, aflame during protests.

June 9: Durham community members toppled a Confederate statue in 2017, and now are calling for the removal of the base. The Confederate monument at the State Capitol was spray painted during protests.

July 8: Confederate monument vandalized at Greensboro’s Green Hill Cemetery; then removed.

Oregon

June 22: Portland plans to cut at least $15 million from the police department, funneling almost $5 million into grassroots initiative.

Pennsylvania

June 6: A mural of Frank Rizzo, former Philadelphia mayor from 1972-1980 and touted as being “tough on crime,” (which here means leaning into race-based discrimination) was removed from Philly’s Italian Market.

South Carolina

May 30: Charleston protesters vandalized a Confederate statue near The Battery, a historic area on the coastal city’s southern tip. The base of the 88-year-old statue was spray-painted, including the words “BLM” and “traitors.”

Tennessee

May 30: Protesters in Nashville set courthouses on fire and knocked over a statue of Edward Carmack, a state lawmaker in the 1900s and publisher who had racist views, especially towards journalist and activist Ida B. Wells.

Texas

June 5: Dallas police adopt “duty to intervene” when other officers engage in excessive force.

June 9: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner bans use of chokeholds, and aims to declare June 9th as “George Perry Floyd Jr. Day.”

June 11: Austin City Council votes to downsize the police department’s 2021 budget and limit the use of force.

Virginia

May 30: Richmond, Virginia holds a complicated history as a city that is over 50 percent black and the former Capital of the Confederacy. During the initial protests following Floyd’s murder, the Daughters of the Confederacy building was set on fire.

June 2: Richmond was the home of Marcus David Peters, a science teacher who was killed by police during a mental health episode in 2018. Since his death, there has been a community push to enact the Marcus Alert, a crisis alert that would enable the Richmond Police Department and the Richmond Behavioral Authority to work together for calls regarding mental health or domestic violence issues, and a Citizen Review Board as a way to hold officials accountable.

During the protests, the Richmond police department released tear gas onto peaceful protestors before the 8 p.m. curfew with no warning. Mayor Levar Stoney apologized to a group of protestors for this misconduct, and committed to fulfilling the Marcus Alert, the Citizen Review Board, and implementing a racial equity study.

June 2: The 131-year-old Confederate statue “Appomattox” in Old Town, Alexandria was removed for fear of damage amid protests.

June 6: Williams Carter Wickham statue was knocked over in Richmond.

June 8: An 800-lb slave auction block in downtown Fredericksburg for the past 176 years is now being moved to a museum.

June 8: Richmond City Council Member Michael Jones calls for the defunding of the police department.

June 9: Christopher Columbus statue was beheaded and thrown into a lake nearby Byrd Park in Richmond.

June 10: The 113-year-old Jefferson Davis monument in Richmond was pulled down by protestors along with Stonewall Jackson and JEB Stuart.

June 11: Governor Ralph Northam orders the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee in Richmond, but a judge placed an injunction on the removal for ten days. Protestors later surround it with photos of black victims of police violence.

June 11: Newport News is covering Confederate statues with tarps to dissuade protestors from tagging or climbing the monuments.

July 2: Stonewall Jackson statue and other Confederate statues removed along Richmond’s Monument Avenue.

July 7: City of Roanoke takes action to remove its last confederate monument.

July 7: Norfolk City Council votes unanimously to move Confederate monument to Norfolk Elmwood Cemetery.

Washington

June 5: Seattle implements 30-day ban on sale and use of tear gas on protestors; tear gas is used anyway, despite a joint recommendation by the Community Police Commission, the Office of Police Accountability, and The Office of Inspector General for Public Safety.

June 9: The ACLU and the Seattle chapter of Black Lives Matter sue the Seattle Police Department for their use of tear gas during the Mayor’s 30-day ban.

June 10: Mayor Jenny Durkan signs an executive order that requires officers to turn on body cams during protests.

June 12: Seattle residents form a Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (later Capitol Hill Occupied Protest), serving as a “no cop co-op.” This area, running along East Pine Street from 10th to 13th Avenues East, was meant to serve as a safe space and is intended to be turned into a community center in the near future. By June 24, after a call from Mayor Durkan for protestors to leave the CHOP, leaders of the CHOP said on Twitter that “the CHOP project is now concluded.”

Nicolette White contributed reporting.

Taneasha is a Black, Queer lover of words, inquisition, and community, and has used her role within both literary and organizational spaces to make room for folks who are often cast aside. She is the Founder and Editor of UnSung Literary Magazine, a flash fiction and poetry publication focused on offering artistic space for marginalized voices. She also co-hosts a podcast, Critiques for The Culture, where media is dissected through humor and a socio-political lens. You can find pieces of Taneasha’s in Pulp Mag, Black Youth Project, Gay RVA, and Urban Views Weekly. Find her on Medium and Twitter!

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