- Congressional Democrats unveiled a package of police reforms as a response to the killing of African-Americans by law enforcement.
- White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany attacked the "Democrat party" in response.
- Minneapolis' city council has pledged to dismantle its police force.
As calls to defund, dismantle, or disband the police force in the US increase, President Donald Trump and the Republicans have used the call to attack the Democrats. “The president is appalled by the ‘defund the police’ movement,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said.
“It’s remarkable to hear this coming from today’s Democrat party,” she continued. Congressional Democrats unveiled a package of police reforms as a response to the killing of African-Americans by law enforcement. Their bill, they say, is aimed at ensuring meaningful and structural changes for the benefits and safety of the citizens.
The legislation is aimed at holding police accountable, improving transparency in policing, and ending police brutality. Congressional Democrats paid their tribute to George Floyd by taking a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds as a symbol of the duration the white policeman pinned Floyd down.
Earlier, nine of the twelve Minneapolis City Council members attended a rally in a city park, and said that they were in support of disbanding the city’s police department. The council President, Lisa Bender, said that the police systems were not keeping the communities safe.
“Our commitment is to end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department, to end policing as we know it, and to re-create systems of public safety that actually keep us safe,” Bender said. She added, “Our efforts at incremental reform have failed. Period.” The community activists criticized the Minneapolis police department for racism and a brutal culture, adding that it resists change.
In a horrifying video, Chauvin pinned Floyd down with his knee as he lay on the ground during an arrest. The video footage was taken by a witness and was sent on social media. It showed Floyd helpless, asking the police not to kill him. Floyd said several times, “I can’t breathe!”
The officer is then heard telling him to relax he continues to pin him down. “My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts,” Floyd cries out. “[I need] water or something. Please. Please. I can’t breathe, officer. . . I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe.” In the footage witnesses are heard pleading with the police to let go the man but their pleas fell on deaf ears.
All four Minneapolis police officers were fired on May 26, following a video on Floyd’s last moments that went viral. Chauvin, who had Floyd pinned down on his knee, faces second degree murder and second degree manslaughter. The other three— Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao— face the charges of aiding and abetting second degree manslaughter with culpable negligence.
Floyd’s death ignited protests against anti-black racism and police brutality across the US and around the world. Many of the protesters call for an end to police brutality, police reforms and the disbandment of the police departments. Some of the protesters and activists have rallied for defunding the police force rather than dismantling it.
A number of police officers have used a lot of force during the widespread protests against the murder of Floyd. Some of these officers have been fired, while others have been charged. In Buffalo, two officers who pushed a 75-year-old protester during one of the demonstrations were charged with second-degree assault.
The US Park Police are accused of using violence against the protesters. The authorities are said to have sent protesters stumbling and running for their dear lives, using chemical reagents and punches last week.