Is it time to defund the police?

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Police reform activists are asking that cities stop relying on reforms as the only solution to police violence. Instead, they propose, spend less money on the police and more on social programs that can improve public safety. Five years ago, in the wake of the killing of Michael Brown and other high-profile deaths at the hands of the police, six cities took part in a national program designed to help reform policing, from training in implicit racial bias and how to de-escalate tense situations to new standards for the use of force and early-warning systems designed to identify officers at risk of causing violence. Minneapolis—where George Floyd was killed by police—was one of the cities that participated, but there’s no broader evidence that the reforms helped change officer behavior. Read Full Story

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These are 8 simple reforms mayors could make to start to reduce police violence

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8 Can’t Wait, from Deray Mckesson’s Campaign Zero, offers a quick blueprint for simple use-of-force policies that have been associated with fewer deaths. In many cities in the U.S., police departments don’t have a ban on chokeholds and strangleholds—despite the fact that the practice can seriously injure or kill civilians. In cities that do have these bans, police officers have killed 22% fewer people. Similarly, many cities don’t have a policy that requires officers to make a report every time they use or threaten to use force against civilians. There’s a 25% gap in police killings between cities that do and don’t have that policy. Read Full Story

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These 8 steps for police abolition go further than #8Can’tWait

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8toAbolition is a response to the set of eight police reform proposals touted by DeRay McKesson. As protests against police brutality grew across the country in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, one nonprofit stepped forward with a set of eight reforms , #8Can’tWait, that they claimed would dramatically reduce police violence—policy changes such as a ban on chokeholds or a requirement that police use de-escalation techniques. But activists quickly criticized the platform, pointing out that reforms that happened in the past haven’t gone far enough. Minneapolis, where George Floyd died at the hands of police, was one of several cities that had enacted several reforms in the past . No matter how much training or regulations the police get, they argued, they’re still capable of violence and discrimination. Read Full Story

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This map reveals 1,747 monuments and other Confederate symbols of America’s racist past

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The map was compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center to show how prolific glorification of the Confederacy is. The George Floyd killing last month has led to a flurry of activity surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement. The overwhelmingly peaceful protests that started and continue in the wake of his death have led to sweeping police reform proposals , calls to defund the police and reallocate that funding directly back into the local community , and even TV shows that helped glorify police violence being canceled . Read Full Story

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How to help Nigeria: What you can do for the ‘End SARS’ protest movement right now

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A growing effort to end police brutality at the hands of Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad is getting international attention. Protests against police brutality in Nigeria took a deadly turn yesterday as a growing youth-led effort to end the country’s notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and reform its policing system continued for a third week. According to eyewitnesses cited in news reports and on social media, soldiers on Tuesday opened fire on protesters in Lagos, the country’s largest city, while Amnesty International has warned that the violence there could escalate. Read Full Story

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AI could help root out bad cops—if only the police allowed it

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As the death of George Floyd accelerates demands to reform policing, Axon CEO Rick Smith is betting on AI, VR, and new ways of analyzing body-cam footage. As someone who has seen a lot of awful, often fatal police encounters, Rick Smith has a few ideas for how to fix American law enforcement. In the past decade, those ideas have turned his company, Axon, into a policing juggernaut. Take the Taser, its best-selling energy weapon, intended as an answer to deadly encounters, as Smith described last year in his book, The End of Killing . “Gun violence is not something people think of as a tech problem,” he says. “They think about gun control, or some other politics, is the way to deal with it. We think, let’s just make the bullet obsolete .” Read Full Story

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Beauty brands were quick to tout diversity during summer protests, but the commitment was short-lived

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Beauty brands posted more images of models with dark skin tones during the BLM protests, then immediately reverted to the mix of largely light-skinned models. Over the summer, in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, millions of people protested in cities across the country, demanding police reform and more accountability. Companies scrambled to reframe their work and put out statements that kept pace with public sentiment. Read Full Story

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How to help Black Lives Matter: 9 things you can do for the George Floyd protesters right now

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The chaotic images of U.S. cities flooding social media this weekend have people feeling helpless, but there are many ways you can fight police violence. Mass demonstrations erupted in cities across the country this weekend to protest the death of George Floyd and draw attention to the ongoing systemic issue of police violence. Tens of thousands of people poured into the streets of cities big and small—Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Miami, New York City—to say enough is enough. Read Full Story

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This stark site visualizes the 28,000 Americans who have been killed by police in the last 20 years

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A project called Their Names humanizes the statistics about the toll of police violence. Eight months before George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis after he allegedly used a counterfeit $20 bill, Byron Williams, a 50-year-old black man in Las Vegas, was pulled over by police because he didn’t have a light on his bicycle. Williams tried to run away, then followed orders to lie on the ground; when an officer put a knee in Williams’s back, he struggled to breathe. Then the officers dragged him around the corner and, according to family members who reviewed body-cam footage, exchanged high-fives and laughed . Like Floyd, Williams’s last words were “I can’t breathe.” Read Full Story

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America’s gun violence epidemic is inextricably linked to police violence

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Can we change policing if we don’t change the country’s lax gun laws? More than three months after Louisville police forcefully entered the home of Breonna Taylor and fired multiple shots, striking her at least eight times, the officers involved still have not faced charges. Without video evidence, like there was for the deaths of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks, there’s no “indisputable proof of wrongdoing,” the city’s deputy general counsel said (though one officer is being fired, Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher recently announced .) The police have continued to defend their use of force in the case, asserting that they only fired their guns after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, initially shot at them. Read Full Story

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