George Floyd’s murder by Derek Chauvin historically had more impact than anyone act regarding race since the 1960s and the era of the “long hot summers” of riots in cities like Detroit and Los Angeles. The death of George Floyd became a worldwide tragedy. It began a protest movement to change the power of systemic racism in policing people of color and the killing of people by the police. His death drove millions of every race from cities large and small to protest his death and the killing of others by the police with impunity.
Political leaders at every level reacted to his death, asked for change, and made commitments to support change. For example, the end of George Floyd impacted the 2020 election of Vice President Joe Biden over President Trump with the response by Americans to frustration with racial equity.
Other nations worldwide were forced to face racism even in their own country for the first time. In England, statues of its imperialist leaders were torn down. Name of George Floyd was known for his murder in the name of the law in America.
The death of George Floyd, a simple man, had more impact than any other of modern times. So why in one year did this fail to change the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota?
Minneapolis is a city of more than 400 thousand; Minneapolis has a black population of only 19%.
The death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, began a movement to determine the value of police organizations and the power given to them by communities to use the law. The concept of “qualified immunity.”
And de-fund the police emerged in Minneapolis after the death of George Floyd, and the city government was demanding a complete overhaul of the police department. The movement was also intended to divert funding from the police to mental health and funds for the homeless and local community youth projects. Nine of the thirteen city council members approved the measures but faced political opposition. Many of the black leaders opposed the effort to reduce the size of the police force.
In contrast, others wanted to remove the police force and, in June 2020, a voter referendum for replacing the police department with a civilian-led Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention organization.
The group is known as “the black visions collective,” was a significant force to change the policing in Minneapolis by de-funding the police and replacing it with programs that reduced poverty as a means to lower crime and prevent over-policing.
The Mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, and police chief Medaria Arradondo opposed the new standards of de-funding the police but supported the end of choke-holds and police accountability. Mayor Frey was “booed” out of a BLM protest on June 6, 2020, for his position against the de-funding of the police. Likewise, the black activists rejected the black police chief Arradondo for being too close to the police and serving as a white surrogate.
The Minneapolis police force faced more than 200 officers that requested to leave with medical disabilities as PTSD caused by the protests after the death of George Floyd. The number of officers who retired and those who just resigned continued to grow as the demands by the city council to de-fund the police continued. In addition, the number of shootings and Homicides continues to rise in Minneapolis and throughout America.
Minneapolis: A city divided on how to defend its self against crime.
The city government was divided over the scope to change the policing in Minneapolis; the black community was divided as the city crime rate surged with black homicides at 41 percent unsolved rate of the 347 between 2013–2019.
In some cases, the Minneapolis police were accused of taking a “hands-off” approach for controlling crimes in the black community, with many people reporting slow or no response to calls for help. The city council members have questioned if this was a deliberate effort by police or just apathy. One man said that a police supervisor told him to tell the Mayor to fund more police if he wanted better police response. Officers openly spoke of teaching the public a lesson on social media to take away the department’s funding. However, when the vote in November was born, the proposal to change the police organization failed.
The result was for many white and black that the system that allowed Derek Chauvin to murder George Floyd and almost freed him from justice had won. The vote had Democrat leaders in Minnesota and nationally on both sides. Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar and Governor Waltz rejected the Minneapolis police ballot initiative. Still, Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and Attorney General Keith Ellison supported the measure. They felt this was the first step in riding the city of criminal police.
But others in the community felt the bill. The pattern-or-practice probe by the Department of Justice would force out criminal police and expose the systemic racism within.
The Minneapolis police have had a gay woman as chief and a Black man. Still, they could not change the path of the department’s officers and their relationship to the black community with the current slowdown and the hands-off plan on shootings in these communities. The police union has been a continued source of a wedge between the city and training officers as “warriors or guardians. The current Mayor Jacob Frey stated that the city would not pay for the warrior training but the union, The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, offers this training for free. The union declared the Mayor’s rule unlawful, and the training was for free for the officers that were more concerned about staying alive.
Like many cities in America, Minneapolis hoped that the George Floyd policing bill would nationally help support the needed changes against excessive force.
The George Floyd policing bill was supported bipartisan but negotiated in the Senate by the Democrats Senate Rep Cory Booker and Karen Bass with Republican Rep. Tim Scott. During the six months of negotiations, Qualified Immunity was an issue. The DOJ, led by then-Attorney William Barr and the Trump administration and Republican Mitch McConnell, opposed the bill.
George wasn’t hurting anyone that day. He didn’t deserve to die over twenty dollars. I am asking you, is that what a black man’s life is worth? Twenty dollars? This is 2020. Enough is enough.
Philonise FloydHouse Judiciary Committee hearing on “Policing Practices and Law Enforcement Accountability” on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S. June 10, 2020.
The bill failed to pass the Senate, which Rep Scott stated may take years to pass after the nation spent a year reckoning with the issue of police violence and the systemic racism that precipitated it.
All of the critical points in the George Floyd bill were denied by the Republicans. Rep. Karen Bass stated “that the bill’s future was with President Biden. But The Biden administration has made little effort to pass the bill since it was declared failed and to pass it would mean changing the “filibuster.”
The Biden Presidential campaign used the police reform as a critical point to rally minority voters’ support in 2020 but made sure to distance itself from the de funding of police. Instead, the administration has blamed the Floyd bill’s failure on Republicans. Still, the black leaders in Minneapolis and other cities have demanded that changes to the filibuster would pass the bill. The bill’s passage would force changes to police in America by making police accountable and stopping criminal police from moving and working in another community without disclosing their past.
The current rise in violence in cities has resulted in the loss of officers who resented these measures but know they can move to communities where they will not scrutinize their records as officers.
The failure in Minneapolis to prosecute and arrest people has forced many to fear retaliation by criminals, creating a cycle of violence that even an increase in officers may never fix.
Currently, eight out of 10 shootings in Minneapolis go unresolved by the police blacks make up the majority of victims. Small children have also increased as homicide victims from shootings in Minneapolis
“We can hold two competing thoughts,” Walz said. “While we’re looking for reforms around police, we need security in our neighborhoods.”
Governor Tim Waltz May 24, 2021
In June, the Biden administration had the DOJ begin a joint gun trafficking task force to stop the spread of shooting like those in Minneapolis. Attorney General Merit Garland announced that the task force would use local, state, and federal resources to slow the spread of guns. In addition, the ATF would seek to increase the arrests of “straw purchasers” who buy guns for convicted criminals or “one-off” buying of guns that pass a gun around from person to person for crimes.
But there is a more significant issue: the DOJ task force has not slowed the number of actual shootings by reducing the number of guns. As a result, the community is seeking police reform. In a recent poll by the Brooking s Institute,
seventy-five percent of the African American population opposed the idea of “de-funding the police.” Still, there is an angry faction of multi-racial people who want to dismantle a corrupt police organization it views as racist, homophobic and violent.
Another group of citizens sued the city for failing to protect the city for not having enough police to cover the city in all communities.
Mayor Frey plans to add 150 new police officers and a budget of 192 million dollars in 2022 for the police department to provide more over time violence prevention, early intervention training, and a body-worn camera analyst.
The Minneapolis city council supports the needed changes. Still, it cannot turn away from the reality of the city facing the highest murder rate in 20 years, a white police chief, and no significant change in the demographics of white and black officers
“I was going to DC for Biden to sign a bill,” she said. “Biden has not signed that bill. Biden has broke a promise.” Bridgett Floyd, sister of George Floyd.
Minneapolis: Is trapped in a whirlpool of self-destruction, and if it can escape, then Americans can too. Minneapolis has accepted that it cannot defund the police but must reform it. The city must first break the bond with the police union and train professionals driven to be guardians of the people and community. They must make an alley for all who live in Minneapolis.
The people in Minneapolis must demand trust by supporting community policing and giving information when crimes occur, which makes a city safe. In addition, Minneapolis must invest in programs that lead to education and jobs that divert people from believing drugs and crime are a means of economic survival in a community. The reality is that blacks in Minneapolis in 2021 accounted for 56% of the gun charges but are only 19 percent of the population.
The current DOJ gun trafficking program started this year needs to continue and work with the local District Attorney to prevent those with a history of gun violence from cash bond release.
If Minneapolis can successfully live up to the changes that people demanded after George Floyd’s death and thousands marched through its streets, Americans can do it as well.