What Has Changed Since the George Floyd Murder?

By Maxwell Smith

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It has been several months since Officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd outside of a convenience store called “Cup Foods” in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Chauvin was charged with first-degree murder after cell phone video footage showed that he had his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck for nearly 8 minutes. Floyd had not been violent with Chauvin or the other officers at any time. That made his death even more tragic and unnecessary.

The incident became a turning point in American society because it sparked protests in the United States and other countries around the world. Not only were black people in these protests, but a high number of white people were protesting with them in solidarity. It is clear now that most Americans want to see racial equality and the end of police brutality against African Americans.

Political Talk

Since Floyd’s murder on May 25th, 2020, politicians from the local, state and federal levels have talked about defunding and reforming the police. Republican politicians have accused Democrats of wanting to get rid of the police altogether by taking their funding away from them. Of course, Republican leaders have not put forth any legislation or policy proposals to reform policing in America. They seem to be all talk and no action.

Democrats insist that defunding the police means allocating money and resources to other social services in the community. That way, the police won’t have to respond to every single domestic dispute in large numbers. Instead, social workers and psychologists can work with the community to resolve nonviolent domestic problems. It would take the stress and pressure off the police officers, who pretty much have to act as social workers and psychologists right now.

Unfortunately, there has yet to be any federal mandates put in place to reform policing nationwide. Politicians at the federal level seem to want to put that responsibility on state and local leaders. While some local governments have successfully cut their budgets on policing, it has not even come close to solving the overall problem.

The Brutality Continues

If you turn on the news, you continue to hear about new stories of white police officers shooting or hurting unarmed black suspects. The latest story involved a 29-year-old African American man named Jacob Blake of Kenosha, Wisconsin.

During a domestic dispute situation, Blake was about to be arrested by a couple of white police officers. As they tried to arrest him, Blake walked away from them and went toward the driver’s side door of his SUV. Meanwhile, the two officers had their handguns drawn and aimed at his back the whole time. Immediately after Blake opened the driver’s side door, one of the officers shot Blake in the back approximately seven times at point-blank range. The worst part was that Blake’s children were in the backseat and witnessed the entire thing.

You’d think that police officers around the country would have taken a lesson from the George Floyd incident when it comes to excessive police force. Sadly, it doesn’t seem like the police have learned anything. Until a national mandate for police reform is passed and enforced, these tragedies will continue to be commonplace in the streets and neighborhoods of America.

“All lives can’t matter till Black Lives Matter”