Brands have something to say about racism. Why does it all look the same?

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How a black background with white letters became the new default aesthetic for corporate support as marketing—and why it falls short. It all began on Friday when Nike flipped the script on its iconic tagline with a message directly addressing the protests in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd that inflamed issues of systemic racial inequality and police brutality. Read Full Story

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Should we model all policing on the suburbs? Not so fast

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“The suburbs” have been cited as an example of communities that have eliminated police brutality and lower arrests, but even if you live outside of a city, how present the police are in your life still comes down largely to race and class. What would a society with less policing look like? As calls to defund the police echo across the country, that’s the question activists have to answer from concerned citizens who can’t picture how less police could lead to more safety. When someone asked Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez this question on Instagram, she gave an answer that’s appeared frequently across the internet: “It looks like a suburb.” Read Full Story

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ALCU’s Executive Director says defunding police budgets will be his ‘North Star’ going forward

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“I’ve been the head of the ACLU for almost 20 years, I feel like I’ve seen it all. This is different.” The ACLU has long fought against police misconduct and racial injustice by supporting efforts to reform the police through lawsuits against policies like stop-and-frisk and conducting investigations that expose internal corruption. But after witnessing the protests—and the police response—across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death, ACLU executive director Anthony Romero says his organization’s main focus now will be on defunding police department budgets. Read Full Story

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Berkeley is going to create a new traffic enforcement department, so police don’t do traffic stops

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The City Council voted to explore forming a Berkeley Department of Transportation that would enforce speeding and traffic laws, instead of armed police officers. The most common way the police and the public interact is through traffic enforcement. That means minor issues like broken brake lights or failure to signal can quickly, turn deadly for Black Americans, as they did in high-profile cases of people killed following traffic stops like Philando Castille and Sandra Bland. But in Berkeley California, police eventually won’t be involved in any traffic violations—or speeding tickets, parking enforcement, collision investigations, or even monitoring school crossing, all of which are currently under the purview of Berkeley police. Read Full Story

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Why it’s so hard to find accurate policing data

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Old IT systems and incomplete data sets make it hard to track things such as arrests and use of force. Americans are obsessed with data—from daily COVID-19 infections , to the presidential horse race , to unemployment numbers . But starkly absent from these daily accountings are policing figures. Instead of comprehensive data on arrests or use of force, we get individual stories about police officers abusing their power, using excessive force, or being fired from one department only to be hired by another . Read Full Story

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Why outfitting police in military uniforms encourages brutality

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Columbia professor Adam Galinsky explains the psychological research behind how human behavior changes based on the clothes we wear and how officers outfitted in riot gear can lead to further unrest. As protests over the systemic brutality by law enforcement against Black Americans continue, an enduring image will be of a blue wall of police, outfitted in helmets and riot gear, prepared to stamp out would-be violence. In cities from Seattle to Boston, officers have been covered head-to-toe in battle-ready gear accessorized with batons, shields, and various firearms, appearing more suited to take on a hostile nation’s insurgents than protestors on U.S. soil. In many cases—and most prominently in Lafayette Square near the White House—initially calm police behavior transformed into aggression. Frequently, the shift to more combative behavior was unprovoked or unnecessary. Read Full Story

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We spent a fortune on police body cams. Why haven’t they fixed policing?

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Amid calls to rethink policing, body cameras remain a popular reform tool. But they remain locked within a larger system that resists transparency and accountability. The footage from the evening of May 25 in Minneapolis was filmed by 17-year-old Darnella Frazier on her phone. Sixteen times over five minutes, George Floyd says he can’t breathe. A group of onlookers, including Frazier, hurl increasingly anguished pleas at the officers, including Derek Chauvin, a two-decade veteran of the force, who keeps his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. “I’m about to die,” Floyd says at one point. Chauvin tells him to relax. Read Full Story

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See the historic Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 in these stirring photos

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Moving pictures from a summer in the streets. The Black Lives Matter movement was not new in 2020, but it was the year it took over the nation and reached across the world. The death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police on May 25 spurred protest not only in that city but all around the U.S., and those protests continued for days, and then weeks. When the death of Breonna Taylor gained nationwide attention—she was killed in may by Louisville police who raided her home, but the case didn’t become a national story until March—it became yet another reason for people to keep taking to the streets. Read Full Story

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The lethal history of rubber bullets—and why they should never be used on peaceful protesters

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Rubber bullets fired on protesters can kill. So why are we using them—and can they be improved? As protests have taken over the U.S., police officers in Minneapolis , Los Angeles , Sacramento , Kansas City , Chicago , and more have opened fire on crowds—bruising, maiming, and even permanently blinding peaceful demonstrators and members of the press . The shots fired have primarily been with what are colloquially called rubber bullets. Read Full Story

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