Thousands have poured into the streets in cities large and small to take a stand against racial inequities and police brutality since the death of Floyd on May 25. The 46-year-old died after a white Minneapolis officer kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes.
States and cities across the U.S. are making changes by cutting funding for police departments and criminalizing the use of chokeholds. Here's a look at some of the policy shifts:
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms authorized reconstruction of the city's police department use of force policies June 17 after former officer Garrett Rolfe shot a fleeing Rayshard Brooks, who was in the possession of the officer's Taser, in the back.
Bottoms said she would require Atlanta police officers to employ “de-escalation techniques” during confrontations, report all use of deadly force to the city’s citizen review board and intervene to prevent the use of excessive force by fellow officers.
Rolfe is being charged with felony murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, with nine additional charges.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot on June 26 announced reforms in police supervisors' contracts. The reforms allow anonymous complaints against supervisors to be investigated, end the requirement of destroying disciplinary records and prevent the names of complainants from being revealed to officers until they are interviewed.
In a statement June 5, Lightfoot promised that the Accountability Task Force she created in December would take on new measures, including crisis intervention and procedural justice training, an officer wellness program and a new recruit program on police-community relations. She said she was considering new licensing requirements for officers.
"It's impossible for me as a Black woman who has been the target of blatant racism over the course of my life not to take the killing of George Floyd personally," Lightfoot said May 29 at a news conference.
The City Council voted to declare racism a public health crisis June 3. “Racism is a sickness,” said councilman Blaine Griffin, chairman of the council's Health and Human Services Committee. “We want to institutionalize racial equity.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention required the city to organize a committee of experts to study and put together policies and strategies to mitigate the health threat and promote racial equity.
Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill June 19 banning the chokehold, enhancing law enforcement transparency and ending former doctrine protecting police officers from lawsuit.
Beginning July 1, 2023, the law will require all local law enforcement and Colorado state patrol, including peace officers, to wear body-worn cameras, according to a press release. In the case of a complaint of misconduct, recording of an incident must be released to the public within 21 days after a complaint is made.
Use of force causing death or serious injury, unannounced entry and instances of peace officers resigning while under investigation for violation of department policies will be made public on the department's website in an annual report.
The law allows a person whose constitutional rights have been infringed upon by a peace officer to bring a civil action lawsuit for the violation.
Mayor Eric Johnson promised to improve diversity training, increase funding to reduce urban decay, strengthen education and improve infrastructure in African American neighborhoods.
On June 24, Mayor Sylvester Turner appointed 45 members to his Task Force on Policing Reform. The task force will oversee the Houston Police Department, beginning July 6, and make suggestions on training tactics, use of force, police oversight and interactions with the community.
"Over the past several weeks, we have all listened to a call for police reform and the demand for change," Turner said in a statement. "People in our community want good policing, accountability and transparency within the Houston Police Department."
Turner issued an order June 10 to the police department banning chokeholds and strangleholds, except as a last resort if an officer or the public is in immediate danger. Turner said placing an officer's knee on a suspect's neck is forbidden.
On June 14, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed legislation that bans the use of chokeholds by police officers and permits police officers to be prosecuted if their law enforcement activity results in the death of a citizen.
City leaders voted July 2 to cut the Los Angeles Police Department budget by $150 million and reduce officer numbers.
Funds will be reinvested toward social services, youth development, health, housing and healing for communities of color. Mayor Garcetti signed an executive directive promoting racial equity in city departments, naming Deputy Mayor Brenda Shockley as L.A.’s first Chief Equity Officer. Garcetti expressed support for a statewide end to the use of the carotid restraint, a technique similar to the chokehold, in a tweet June 9.
Louisville's Metro Council voted unanimously on June 11 to ban the use of “no-knock” warrants after passing Breonna’s Law, an ordinance that outlines the rendering of search warrants by police officers and requires active body cameras when a warrant is served.
Breonna's Law: Louisville Metro Council votes to ban no-knock warrants
Cincinnati: Other cities look to Breonna's Law
Breonna’s Law was named in honor of 26-year-old-Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by police in her home on March 13 when officers executed a “no-knock” warrant.
“A few weeks ago, the community began to cry out for justice and change. You spoke, we listened, and tonight we took action to save lives – the lives of our citizens and the lives of our law enforcement officers. Breonna Taylor worked and lived to save lives as a first responder and an Emergency Medical Technician,” Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith said. “Together we passed Breonna’s Law and together we say her name – Breonna Taylor.”
The Minneapolis City Council on June 26 unanimously approved a radical proposal to change the city charter that would allow the police department to be dismantled, following mass public criticism of law enforcement over the killing of George Floyd.
The 12-0 vote is just the first step in a process that faces significant bureaucratic obstacles to make the November ballot, where the city’s voters will have the final say.
Doing so would first require amending the city charter. Draft language of the amendment posted online would replace the department with a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, “which will have responsibility for public safety services prioritizing a holistic, public health-oriented approach.” It also provides for a division of licensed peace officers, who would answer to the department’s director.
The City Council unanimously voted to approve a radical proposal to dismantle the police department, following National public criticism of law enforcement over the killing of George Floyd, according to Associated Press.
"It is time to make structural change," Council Member Steve Fletcher said. "It is time to start from scratch and reinvent what public safety looks like."
The city banned chokeholds June 5.
On June 29, New York City's mayor and city council negotiated to cut the NYPD budget by as much as $1 billion. Funding will be reallocated to for youth development and social services for communities of color.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that requires all New York State police officers to wear body cameras while on patrol, also creating the Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigative Office. He also signed the New Yorker's Right to Monitor Act, which allows individuals the right to record law enforcement, a June 14 press release announced.
"The relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve isn't working," Cuomo said. "New York is the progressive capital of the nation, and we are leading the way by enacting real reforms to increase transparency in policing, promote accountability among our law enforcement agencies and ultimately mend that frayed relationship between the police and the community."
Mayor Steven Reed announced the police department will join the #8CantWait project, a campaign designed to reduce harm caused by police and create accountable communities. "Too often throughout history, black men and women have disproportionately been the victims of heinous acts of violence at the hands of law enforcement," Reed said June 8. "This must end now.”
The Oakland Unified School District Board voted to eliminate the district's police department, redirecting millions of police funding to student services, according to the Associated Press.
The City Council approved a cut of $33 million from police funding on June 25. A first draft of a bill banning chokeholds by law enforcement was also OK'd by the council.
Separately, $25 million will be transferred from the city's recession reserve fund for the "New Normal Budget Act," that was announced by the council on June 5, to tackle housing, poverty, health care and job inequities exposed by COVID-19 and civil unrest.
The city council voted 7-2 on June 8 to fully fund the Office of Accountability, allowing civilian oversight of the police department and enhancing accountability practices such as requiring that officers wear body cameras and transparency of police operations and data.
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall announced the start of the Commission on Racial Equity in Policing, aimed at making recommendations to the mayor and city council on policy, budget and the culture of policing, a June 25 press release said.
“Working toward greater equity and breaking down institutional and systemic racism has been a priority of this administration and City Council, but this priority has been elevated to an urgent status in the past weeks,” Mendenhall said in a statement. “In this time of great fear and mistrust of government and police, it is our hope that this Commission will result in real, positive change to the way our police department functions in the community.”
Chokeholds used by police on citizens and the use of tear gas on crowds were banned under a policy announced by the city council on June 10, according to the Associated Press.
Over six stand-alone de-escalation policies will include requiring officers to use low levels of force and officer interference with report of an incident in the event that another officer uses unreasonable force.
Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer announced June 1 that the San Diego Police Department will no longer use the carotid restraint.
The city council voted 8-1 to create an Office of Race and Equity and increase funding for its police department June 8 after about 10 hours of public comment by phone, during which many residents demanded a reduction in police funding, NBC 7 San Diego reported.
“This is about systemic, generational issues that we must acknowledge and address, and those won’t be solved overnight with a single budget vote," Mayor Kevin Faulconer said in a statement to USA TODAY. "We’re going to keep funding our police department, but it won’t be business as usual."
In a unanimous vote, the City Council banned police from using tear gas and pepper spray on June 15.
The city's budget committee announced an intent to defund the police department and a transparent investigation of police funding. “I commit to defunding the Seattle Police Department to reinvest in community-based public safety programs and solutions," council member Teresa Mosqueda said June 8.
Mayor Muriel Bowser renamed a section of street near the White House "Black Lives Matter Plaza" on June 5. Bowser had city crews paint Black Lives Matter in 50-foot-wide yellow letters on a section of 16th Street in front of Lafayette Square in honor of protesters of police brutality.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Police brutality: Cities, states change policies amid protests