• ekhamashima

How America has changed since the protests began

Updated: Jul 16, 2020

The murder of George Floyd was one of the many tragedies caused by police brutality in America. Following this devastation, Americans across the country have taken to the streets, carrying signs and chanting adamantly about the change that needs to happen. There has also been a surge of support of the Black Lives Matter movement on social media, causing petitions to be signed and donations to be made. Because of this, America is already different than it was a month ago, crucial developments have been made nationwide.

Bans on police neck restraints

Neck restraints concern the practice of police officers using their arm or leg to restrain someone's neck. Although they are supposed to be used as a last resort, many officers take advantage of this technique, too often resulting in the death of an innocent person.

In New York, California, Washington, Colorado, and Connecticut, Denver, and many more, lawmakers and governors have passed bans or are working on passing bans on the use of chokeholds by law enforcement officers across the entire state. The French government even announced that police will no longer be able to use neck restraints when arresting.

Duty to intervene

Some law enforcement agencies will now begin requiring officers to intervene when seeing a peer using excessive force. In the past, so many tragedies could have been avoided if the police surrounding the incident had not been apathetic. Now, police will be held accountable for their apathy, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the officer could face a criminal prosecution.

Better education and training

Across the country, cities including Washington D.C. and Albany, Oregon, have announced plans to require education of police officers on white supremacy and racism. Statewide community colleges in Virginia and California have announced plans to review training programs with their law enforcement officers.

Reporting requirements and increased transparency

On June 9th, New York lawmakers announced the end of a law that has kept law enforcement officers’ disciplinary records secret. This is one of several police accountability bills being reviewed by the state legislature. Others would provide all state troopers with body cameras. Some cities have applied measures to generate increased transparency for fatal accidents, such as the release of footage from body cams. For instance, legislation adopted in Washington, D.C. announced that body cam footage should be disclosed within 72 hours of an officer-involved fatality.