US President Joe Biden has signed an Executive Order that will direct federal and state authorities to revise the police’s use of force policies.
The order comes two years after 46-year-old George Floyd was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota sparking global protests on race and calls for police reform in the United States.
However, while those who were outraged have received some closure via the courts, it appears that systematic changes in the use of force in policing in America will take longer to achieve.
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd took his last breath. For more than nine minutes, white police officer, Derek Chauvin, held Floyd on the ground as he called for his mother…as he pleaded for his life.
“I can’t breathe.”
Floyd’s last words became the spark that ignited worldwide protests not only about police brutality, but on the role of systematic racism.
Kenya, Japan, India, Spain, France, England, Brazil, Jamaica all had protests. Two days after Floyd was killed, Susan Bogle, died during a security force operation in August Town.
Protesters gathered outside the US Embassy in Kingston raising the issue of police brutality.
George Floyd protests in Brooklyn, New York
Several international institutions were forced to examine their racist past, to include Cecil Rhodes – the patron of the Rhodes Scholarship.
Back in the US several southern states were forced to remove statues of racist leaders from the past after protestors started to target them.
And other people who were killed in instances of excess force like Breanna Taylor became rallying points for advocates and protestors.
But, since the summer of Black Lives Matter, what has been done on a systematic level?
Eleven months after Derek Chauvin pinned George Floyd to the ground until he was unconscious, he was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He was sentenced to 22 years and six months.
However, while Chauvin was on trial, 20-year-old Daunte Wright – a black man – was shot and killed by Kimberly Potter – a white police officer – during a traffic stop.
George Floyd protests led to racist statues being remove.
What has changed since the killing of George Floyd?
On the local level, several States have enacted more than 500 bills related to policing in the past two years.
Until President Biden’s Executive Order the only federal policy in place regarding police use of force was a Trump order on ‘safe policing for safe communities.’
Two years to the day of George Floyd’s killing, President Joe Biden has signed an Executive Order to reform federal and local policing.
US President Joe Biden signs Executive Order on police reform, two years after George Floyd killing.
The Executive Order directs all federal agencies to revise their use-of-force policies, create a national registry of officers fired for misconduct and will use grants to encourage state and local police to restrict the use of chokeholds and neck restraints.
Before Wednesday’s executive order, there was the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020, designed to strengthen accountability for law enforcement. Republicans countered with a narrower proposal. Both bills failed in 2020.
Democrats tried again in 2021, that also fell apart.
In a report published by the Guardian newspaper this year, many experts believe the Biden Administration has fallen short in law enforcement reforms.
According to statistics reviewed by non-profit organisation Mapping Police Violence, on average the police killed three people per day since the start of the year up to March 24.
This reflects trends in police killings in previous years.