DETROIT – Around the country Americans are demanding change following the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a Minneapolis police officer.
Floyd was killed by now-former police officer Derek Chauvin who knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while he was in police custody, handcuffed and laying on the ground.
Americans are now marching and protesting for a second consecutive week to demand justice for Floyd and countless other Black Americans killed by police officers.
Activists are calling for more than just justice, though -- they are calling for tangible change to prevent these tragedies from occurring in the future.
On Tuesday Detroit protest organizers and founders of the new Detroit Will Breathe organization released a list of demands ahead of their meeting with Mayor Mike Duggan and Police Chief James Craig. Protestors have marched Downtown to decry police brutality, racism and more for the last 11 days.
The Detroit organizers’ list of demands for change are as follows:
- Defund and Demilitarize the Police
- End Project Greenlight and Facial Recognition
- Drop All Charges and Citations received by protestors
- Do not carry out eviction orders
- Drop the uneven citations received by Detroiters during the stay at home order
- End “consensual” sex between Police Officers and those under custody (Legally define all sex in custody as rape)
- Prosecute and fire any Police Officer involved in police brutality
- Do not criminalize homeless people
- Make Detroit A Sanctuary City
- Create an Independent Office for Disabled Citizens
- Restore and maintain running water for all Detroiters
Across the country, some protestors and activists have called to “defund the police” and redesign public health and safety systems, while others have demanded police reform following Floyd’s killing.
Below are some resources to help explain what those demands entail and their significance amid the current national unrest.
“Defund the police"
Some Americans are calling to “defund the police” instead of promoting police reform as a potential solution to widespread police brutality and systemic racism.
Defunding the police means to divest funds from police departments and reinvest them into social services that can help address the root cause of crime and prevent over-policing and police brutality, especially in marginalized communities.
Policing alternative: Community-led public safety initiatives
Advocates believe that a new approach to public safety is necessary to ensure the safety of all American lives -- especially Black Americans who are disproportionately arrested, sentenced and killed by police around the country.
Some are pushing for community-led public health and safety initiatives that will reroute funding from police departments into community programs and services that address the root causes of crime -- and will eventually eliminate the need for police intervention.
Some Americans are calling for police departments to implement changes that will reduce police brutality and killings toward marginalized communities, such as increased trainings and revamped field procedures.
Police reform has a long history and has been a common discussion topic throughout the last decade -- especially following unjust killings of Black Americans and subsequent unrest -- however, some argue that it is not an effective solution.