On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Former Minneapolis, Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin, who was caught on video pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck, has been charged with second-degree murder. Chauvin was fired along with the other three officers on the scene— Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao. They were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Floyd’s death while in police custody has powered a movement around the globe against police brutality and racial injustice. The chant of “Black Lives Matter” has grown even louder and fiercer as people of all colors stand in solidarity to oppose the killing of blacks at the hands of police officers.
Other high-profile recent deaths include: Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed in Georgia on February 23, 2020 after being pursued and shot by two white men, and Breonna Taylor, an EMT worker who was killed in Louisville, Kentucky by police on March 13, 2020.
Amid already heightened tension over these deaths, Rayshard Brooks, 27 was killed in Atlanta on June 12, 2020, by an Atlanta officer following a field sobriety test. Brooks was killed after he snatched an officer’s Taser and pointed it back at the officer while fleeing. The Wendy’s restaurant where the incident happened was set ablaze, and Brooks’ death has sparked new protests.
In the aftermath of these killings, there have been growing demands for change. Among them, calls to defund police departments. Locally, the Baltimore City Council cut $22 million from the police department’s budget. Nationally, NASCAR has announced plans to ban Confederate flags at its events, and in states across the country, monuments, and statues that many feel symbolize white supremacy and oppression are being taken down. On Tuesday, June 16, 2020, President Donald Trump signed an executive order addressing policing reforms.
Amidst the civil unrest, politicians, activists, lawyers, celebrities, and others have also voiced their thoughts and opinions about what needs to happen next. What do you think? This week, The Baltimore Times took to the streets to ask the question: Where Do We Go From Here?