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Giving Compass' Take:
• Stephen Menendian at Othering & Belonging Institute argues that without a broader, more transformative policy agenda regarding racism and police reform, similar protests and uprisings that are happening now can be expected in the future.
• What can donors do to help the de-escalation of police violence in general? What are policymakers plans to adopt stricter guidance on the use of police force?
A global protest movement focused on racial inequality has opened the window of opportunity to address systemic and structural racial inequality, and the aperture seems wider than at any point since perhaps Reconstruction. Already the protest movement has a growing and notable set of achievements, including announcements from both Minneapolis and Los Angeles to repurpose municipal funds away from police departments and for other needed services.
The recent ongoing protests were triggered by the killing of George Floyd on May 25 by a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin. Responding to a 911 call, Chauvin pinned Mr. Floyd to the ground during an arrest. Even after Mr. Floyd complained that he couldn’t breathe and repeatedly pleaded for the officer to get off of him and pedestrians urged officers to listen, officer Chauvin refused to move his knee. As seen in a video shot by a bystander, three other officers stood by as Mr. Floyd went unconscious, who later died of asphyxiation.
It wasn’t until May 28, three days later, that the Minneapolis police department fired the officers involved, and four days for the county authorities to finally charge Derek Chauvin with murder and manslaughter and arrest him. In the intervening time, protests expanded across the nation, and have grown beyond ever since.
Unfortunately, this pattern – a violent police encounter usually involving an unarmed Black American, followed by protests and calls for change – is hardly new. It has occurred repeatedly in recent years, following the deaths of, among others, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Walter Scott, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, and so many others.
Read the full article about police reform and structural racism by Stephen Menendian at Othering & Belonging Institute.