What The George Floyd Protests Reveal About Policing In The U.S.

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A man addresses a row of police officers during a "Justice for George Floyd" event in Houston, Texas on May 30, 2020, after George Floyd, an unarmed black, died while being arrested and pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer. (MARK FELIX/AFP via Getty Images)
A man addresses a row of police officers during a "Justice for George Floyd" event in Houston, Texas on May 30, 2020, after George Floyd, an unarmed black, died while being arrested and pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer. (MARK FELIX/AFP via Getty Images)

Protests erupt against police brutality and use of force. In many cities, police are responding with even more force. We look at why it's happening and what it means about policing in America.


Jeh Johnson, partner in the litigation department at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Former secretary for the Department of Homeland Security. (@PaulWeissLLP)

Jamiles Lartey, staff writer for the Marshall Project. (@Jamiles)

Edward Maguire, professor of criminology and criminal justice at Arizona State University. (@ERMaguire)

Jane Castor, mayor of Tampa, Florida. Former Tampa chief of police. (@JaneCastor)

From The Reading List

Marshall Project: "Before George Floyd’s Death, Minneapolis Police Failed to Adopt Reforms, Remove Bad Officers" — "As video footage of George Floyd’s last moments circulated this week, many watched in shock and revulsion. The 46-year old black man died Monday, pleading for air, as a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck during an arrest."

New York Times: "Protesters Dispersed With Tear Gas So Trump Could Pose at Church" — " People who gathered outside the White House to protest police brutality spent Monday waving signs and screaming for justice. They watched as police officers and National Guard units flooded Lafayette Square, delivering on a threat made by President Trump."

CNN: "As rage over killings of black Americans sweeps nation, DOJ has all but abandoned broad police investigations" — "During the Obama administration, high-profile police shootings of black men like Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Laquan McDonald in Chicago helped spark sweeping federal investigations and reforms of biased policing practices."

Al Jazeera: "Mapping US police killings of Black Americans" — "Between 2013 and 2019, police in the United States killed 7,666 people, according to data compiled by Mapping Police Violence, a research and advocacy group. On May 25, 2020 at 9:25pm (02:25 GMT, May 26), George Floyd, a 46-year-old resident of Minnesota, became yet another victim of police brutality as he was killed in police custody while unarmed."

ABC News: "Why some police officers stood with protesters outraged over George Floyd's death" — "As images of police officers in riot gear clashing with protesters in response to the death of George Floyd proliferated from across the country, a very different theme emerged from several cities."

Vox: "Violent protests are not the story. Police violence is." — "The protests over George Floyd’s killing by a white police officer have spread from Minneapolis across the country, revealing the pent-up anger over institutional racism nationwide."

Buzzfeed News: "There’s One Big Reason Why Police Brutality Is So Common In The US. And That’s The Police Unions." — "More than a year before a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, pinned George Floyd to the ground in a knee chokehold, Mayor Jacob Frey banned “warrior” training for the city’s police force."

Houston Chronicle: "Editorial: Houston police have killed 6 men. We need to see the videos, Chief Acevedo" — "Being black in America should not be a death sentence."

Washington Post: "Police turn more aggressive against protesters and bystanders alike, adding to disorder" — "Federal authorities urged local officials Sunday to crack down harder on rioters after American cities were rocked by fiery spasms of violence and vandalism, part of a nationwide wave of protests over police misconduct."

The Guardian: "Policing in the US is not about enforcing law. It’s about enforcing white supremacy" — "On Friday the CNN journalist Omar Jimenez was arrested on live television as he covered protests of police brutality in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jimenez identifies as African American and Hispanic, and when the cops confronted him, he did just what minority parents tell their kids to do. Jimenez cooperated; he was respectful, deferential even."

Nieman Lab: "U.S. police have attacked journalists at least 100 times in the past four days" — "As Black Lives Matter protests spread across the country one week after a white police officer allegedly murdered a black man, George Floyd, it’s becoming clear that attacks by police on journalists are becoming a widespread pattern, not one-off incidents."

Marshall Project: "Why So Many Police Are Handling the Protests Wrong" — "Last Wednesday, Marcell Harris was hit by a rubber bullet. He had joined the second day of protests in this city over the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died after a police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes while bystanders filmed."

This program aired on June 2, 2020.


Brittany Knotts Freelance Producer
Brittany Knotts is a freelance producer for On Point.


Adam Waller Freelance Producer
Adam Waller is a freelance producer for On Point.


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Meghna Chakrabarti Host, On Point
Meghna Chakrabarti is the host of On Point.



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