Our Story, America's Glory: What to know about Louisville's 9-day Juneteenth celebration

By |2022-05-26T16:53:22-04:00May 26th, 2022|Breonna Taylor|

Louisville's Juneteenth festivities are expanding this year.The Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration Commission has a nine-day series of events planned for the community between June 11-19 to celebrate the holiday, which was first recognized as a federal holiday by President Joe Biden in 2021. There are over 10 events this year, including an art camp for children put on by Louisville Visual Art and Waterfront Park, a pageant hosted by radio stations WLLV and WLOU and a "Race for Justice" to honor Breonna Taylor by Future Ancestors and Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center.Juneteenth, or June 19, is the celebration of the effective end of slavery in the United States. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on Jan. 1, 1863, it was not until over two years later on June 19, 1865 that federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to enforce the end of slavery. Since then, Juneteenth has become a day to celebrate freedom for Black Americans.Mayor Fischer, who declared racism a public health crisis in 2020, said the theme of this year's celebration is "Our Story, America's Glory." Chosen by the commission, the theme is meant to "remind us all of the importance of learning about that story and about our nation's history, the good and the bad." Housing:East End apartment complex discriminated against Black renters, report saysThere will be opportunities to highlight Black businesses and entrepreneurship, teach young people about the works and history of artist Ed Hamilton, Muhammad Ali and the Underground Railroad and attend educational events. Lean Into Louisville will also have a panel about redistricting and an event about reconstructing family trees, said Joi McAtee, the project manager of the organization.To close out Thursday's announcement Mayor Fischer gave a message to those who may not think that the holiday pertains to them."It applies to everybody. Right. So whether you're white, Black, brown, from the south, east, north, west, it doesn't matter. This will be a tremendous celebration of who we are as Louisvillians," he said.Here’s a look at events planned by the Juneteenth Commission:First Tee Louisville’s 22nd annual George 'GG' Johnson Golf ScrambleWHAT: Shawnee Golf Course Lunch will begin at 11 a.m. with raffle prizes to win. The four-person scramble (three adults and one first tee participant) will tee off at 1 p.m. Register at firstteelouisville.org or contact Bhardesty@firstteelouisville.org. WHERE: Shawnee Golf Course, 460 Northwestern Pkwy.WHEN: June 11, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.MORE INFORMATION: Register at firstteelouisville.org or contact Bhardesty@firstteelouisville.org.More:'I'm here now': Mayor Greg Fischer apologizes to Louisville's wrongly accused Black SixJuneteenth CampWHAT: Louisville Visual Art and Waterfront Park are hosting a day camp for youth ages 7-12. Campers will be introduced to the works and history of Ed Hamilton, Muhammad Ali, the Underground Railroad and more, then create their own artworks to express themselves and their newfound knowledge; in the afternoons, campers will explore Waterfront Park for fun camp activities. Limited to 10 students.WHERE: Louisville Visual Art and Waterfront ParkWHEN: June 13-17, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. WAVE Country with Dawne GeeWHAT: WAVE-TV anchor and reporter Dawne Gee will discuss Juneteenth highlights and moderate panel discussions.WHEN: June 13-14, 2 p.m.Lean Into Louisville, Redistricting Panel DiscussionWHAT: Mayor Fischer will greet and introduce a diverse panel that will address and examine why redistricting happens, who it helps, harms, and short-term/long-term implications. MetroTV and Lean Into Louisville will livestream the event on social media.WHEN: June 14, 6:30 p.m.Lean Into Louisville, Presentation: The Kentucky African American Civil War Soldiers ProjectWHAT: The Kentucky African American Civil War Soldiers Project seeks to uncover archival documents about the lives of these soldiers and their family members, and use them as the basis for constructing family trees going as far backward and forward as possible. Dan Gediman and Denyce Peyton will share stories and photographs about selected soldiers from Louisville, as well as discuss their newly created searchable online database.WHERE: First Gethsemane Baptist Church, 1159 Algonquin ParkwayWHEN: June 15, 12 p.m.You may like:Here's everything you need to know about the four-day Louisville Juneteenth FestivalThe Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission Celebrates 60th Anniversary/Juneteenth LuncheonWHAT: The luncheon will celebrate HRC’s achievements in safeguarding all individuals within Jefferson County from all forms of discrimination. The Mayor will speak, along with keynote speaker, Rev. Dr. Daniel Corrie Shull, senior pastor of Burnett Avenue Baptist Church.WHERE: Kentucky Center for African American Heritage Center, 1701 W Muhammad Ali Blvd.WHEN: June 16, 11 a.m. COST: $25 per personMiss Juneteenth PageantWHAT: WLLV and WLOU will host the inaugural Miss Juneteenth Pageant at Fourth Street Live. The inaugural pageant will feature 30 contestants. The Mayor is expected to crown the winners.WHERE: Fourth Street LiveWHEN: June 16, 1-5 p.m.Agape Day, Dare to Care & National Panhellenic CouncilWHAT: Local Divine 9 Black Greek fraternities and sororities will partner with Dare to Care to deliver food to communities.WHEN: June 17, 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration: Our Story, America’s Glory Inaugural GalaWHAT: Mayor Fischer will speak at the red carpet gala that will feature dinner, spoken word by Hannah Drake and special performances by the Dr. Jerry Tolson Orchestra, Syreeta Thompson “Trumpet Lady” and Donna & The Atone Band. WAVE3’s Dawne Gee, a Juneteenth Jubilee commissioner, will emcee the event. WHERE: The Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. 6th St.WHEN: June 17, 6 p.m.MORE INFORMATION: Tickets can be purchased for $150 at juneteenthlou.com or for more information, email June.Embers@louisvilleky.gov.You may like:This Louisville native never saw himself as an artist. Then a museum bought his work'Race for Justice' by Future Ancestors, Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning CenterWHAT: Participants will honor Breonna Taylor by running or walking 26 laps as team, one for every year she was alive, or by walking/running a 1.3-mile individual race; she was killed on March 13, 2020.WHERE: Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center, 3029 W Muhammad Ali Blvd.WHEN: June 18, 8 a.m.Juneteenth Youth JamboreeWHAT: Reviving Urban Neighborhoods, Inc. will host a fun-filled family event where youths can win prizes by demonstrating their knowledge of Juneteenth facts.WHERE: Berrytown Park, 1300 Heafer RoadWHEN: June 18, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.Presbyterian Church USA, hybrid serviceWHAT: The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will be preaching at the service. The service can be viewed by visiting: ga-pcusa.org or on Facebook at facebook.com/spiritofga.WHEN: June 19, 11 a.m.For more information about how to celebrate, visit juneteenthlou.com.Reach Eleanor McCrary at emccrary@gannett.com and follow her on Twitter @ellie_mccrary.

Biden Aims for Police Reform on Anniversary of Floyd's Death | News | teleSUR English

By |2022-05-26T16:52:35-04:00May 26th, 2022|Breonna Taylor|

On Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order aimed at reforming federal police practices. The action came on the second anniversary of police killing of African American man George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota during an arrest. RELATED: Report: US Police Have Killed 1068 People Since Floyd's Death Biden said that the order "promotes accountability," with measures including the creation of "a new national law enforcement accountability database to track records of misconduct so that an officer can't hide the misconduct." It also bans chokeholds, restricts no-knock warrants, and tightens use-of-force policies to emphasize de-escalation. The executive order applies directly to all federal law enforcement officers, whose number exceeds 100,000. "Though federal incentives and best practices they're attached to, we expect the order to have significant impact on state and local law enforcement agencies as well," he added. The families of Floyd and Breonna Taylor, who was killed in 2020 by officers executing a "no-knock" warrant in Louisville, Kentucky, attended the signing ceremony. Two years ago, a police officer murdered George Floyd. That outrageous killing sparked a powerful movement for Black Lives.Today, let us build that movement because, until we defeat racism, none of us can truly breathe. pic.twitter.com/hO3D1AJXcV — Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) May 25, 2022 Floyd's death sparked massive demonstrations across the United States in the summer of 2020 against police brutality and systemic racism. "For many people, including many families here, such accountability is all too rare," Biden said on Wednesday, calling on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which is stalled in the Senate, and send it to his desk. Derek Chauvin, former Minneapolis police officer who put his knee on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes, was convicted last year of murder and is serving his sentence in prison. Three other ex-cops were found guilty of violating Floyd's civil rights. A vigil in memory of Floyd was held on Wednesday night at the intersection in Minneapolis where the 46-year-old man died. Several other U.S. cities and places organized similar events.

'I'm here now': Mayor Greg Fischer apologizes to Louisville's wrongly accused Black Six

By |2022-05-26T11:37:50-04:00May 26th, 2022|Breonna Taylor|

Fifty two years after they were acquitted of conspiracy charges, members of Louisville's Black Six received an apology from the city's top official: Mayor Greg Fischer.The Black Six were a group of Black business people and activists who'd been accused of plotting to destroy buildings in the West End during a week-long rebellion in 1968.Their court case stretched on for two years before going to trial, where Judge Rush Nicholson ruled prosecutors hadn't presented enough evidence to warrant the charges. He directed the jury to issue a verdict of not guilty.Learn about the case:How a trial over the 1968 uprising in the West End stained Louisville historyAt a recent event discussing the case, Fischer rose from the audience to ask if anyone from the city had ever apologized."No," said Manfred Reid, one of two Black Six members present."Until we acknowledge the harm that's happened in the past, it's hard to move on," Fischer responded. "I wasn't there then, but I'm here now. I represent an institution. So I apologize."The moment was one of several at the event — hosted by the Frazier Kentucky History Museum, Lean Into Louisville and The Courier Journal — where members of the panel and audience spoke about the need for city leaders to take ownership of injustices done to the Black community, including the 2020 police killing of Breonna Taylor."There are good people in all races here. We've worked together in the past, and we can work together in the future," said Ken Clay, a former business owner who witnessed the rebellion. "But there has to be that effort to bring us together, to really work collectively to rid this community of the hatred and of the injustice."We've got to stand up and admit that we've been wrong. And we need to hear the apology like the mayor got up and apologized. We need that apology to the Black community as a whole and particularly to the victims. Justice for Breonna has got to be the answer."Watch a recording of the event below.Reach reporter Bailey Loosemore at bloosemore@courier-journal.com, 502-582-4646 or on Twitter @bloosemore. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: https://www.courier-journal.com/baileyl.

Police officer testifies he shot Saginaw teen conducting 'no-knock' search warrant – mlive.com

By |2022-05-26T12:24:02-04:00May 26th, 2022|Breonna Taylor|

SAGINAW, MI — Last summer, police executed a no-knock search warrant on a suspected Saginaw drug house. Moments after entering, a 17-year-old inside the house allegedly drew a handgun, prompting two officers to open fire on him.Months later, maimed and facing two felonies, the teen sat in his wheelchair with arms folded across his chest as he listened to one of the officers who shot him testify he did so upon being put in fear for his life.The preliminary examination of now-18-year-old Rae’Quin R. Scott Jr. was held Wednesday, May 25, before Saginaw County District Judge Elian E.H. Fichtner. Scott is charged with felonious assault and felony firearm. The former charge is a four-year felony, while a conviction of the latter mandates a minimum two-year prison term, to be served consecutively with any related stint.As her lone witness of the day, Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Melissa J. Hoover called Saginaw Police Officer Jonathon Beyerlein to the stand. Beyerlein is a member of the multijurisdictional Saginaw Emergency Services Team (or EST), which functions like a SWAT team in that it serves high-risk search warrants and deals with barricaded gunmen, hostage rescue, and dignitary security, the officer said.Early on the morning of Aug. 5, the EST convened with investigators from the Bay Area Narcotics Enforcement Team (or BAYANET) for a briefing on the execution of a warrant at a house at 814 S. Harrison St. During the briefing, EST members were told BAYANET had conducted multiple recent controlled purchases of drugs at the residence and that several people there had been seen with firearms, Beyerlein said.The plan was to serve a no-knock warrant, a controversial type of warrant that does not require police to knock or announce themselves before breaching a house.“It’s not something we take lightly,” Beyerlein said. “We don’t know if we’re walking into a potential ambush situation, if it’s a house known to have 10, 15, or more people. We’re not there to inflict harm on anybody. We’re just trying to secure the house.”EST’s role is not to search property but to secure it for investigators, Beyerlein said. He said investigators had confirmed there were no young children, elderly people, or dogs inside the house before the warrant was to be served. He added the house had been shot at a few times prior to Aug. 5.About 6:30 a.m., EST members breached the house, deployed a flashbang grenade into it, and announced their presence, Beyerlein said. A flashbang emits a single concussive boom and shear of bright light, its intended purpose being to delay potential ambushers’ thought processes or disorient them, the officer said.Once the flashbang went off, EST members began entering the house, Beyerlein being the third one inside.“I could see there was an opening, not a doorway, more of a gap in the wall … that led deeper into the residence,” Beyerlein said. “I positioned myself right next to that first officer who was facing south. As I looked east through that doorway, I could see a person laying on the ground. Their feet were toward me … kind of tucked up underneath their butt and their knees were up toward their chest. I could not see his hands; they were concealed behind his legs.”The officer was preparing to yell commands at the person on the ground when they rose and drew a handgun from behind their thighs, he said.“He lifted it up over the top of his thighs and then activated a weapon-mounted flashlight and pointed it directly at me and the other officer I was standing next to,” Beyerlein said.Believing the subject was going to fire at him or his partner, Beyerlein fired five rounds from his rifle, stopping once the other man dropped the handgun. Beyerlein said he stopped back, then heard another officer fire a single shot from another angle.The wounded person was identified as Scott.Under cross-examination by defense attorney Bruce L. Leach, Beyerlein said he did not know if the warrant specifically mentioned Scott. He reiterated Scott had been lying on the ground when he first saw him, not on a couch, as police reports state.While officers recovered a pistol near Scott, Beyerlein said he did not know if any rounds had been fired from it.Asked by Leach if he was wearing a departmental-issued body camera during the raid, Beyerlein said he was.After Beyerlein concluded his testimony, Assistant Prosecutor Hoover asked Judge Fichtner to bind Scott’s case over to Circuit Court for trial, something Leach opposed. He said the prosecution had presented him with about 10 disks of officers’ body camera footage but Beyerlein’s were not among them.“This raises some very interesting questions about the officers that were first in that were involved with the shooting and the availability of those body cameras in order to clearly establish what happened, in what order here,” Leach said.Fichtner granted Hoover’s request and bound Scott’s case over to the higher court.According to police reports obtained by MLive-The Saginaw News via a Freedom of Information Act request, police in the days preceding the raid saw people at the Harrison Street house with three AR-15-style rifles and multiple handguns with extended magazines. The residence had also been the target of multiple drive-by shootings, with one on Feb. 12 seeing a 15-year-old girl inside the house suffering a gunshot wound to her back.In addition to Scott, police detained 17-year-old Torrion T. Wilson and 16-year-old Eric M. Burrell Jr., the latter residing at the Harrison Street house. In searching the home, they found 19 grams of suspected crystal meth, 1 gram of heroin/fentanyl, an AR-15 under a bed, a Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun in a closet, three digital scales, and ammunition of various types. They also found $896 in cash on Scott and $482 on one of the other teens, their records show.Wilson himself suffered two gunshot wounds in separate incidents in 2021, the first occurring about 4 p.m. on March 15 at Woodbridge and Irving and the second about 2 p.m. on May 23 at or near the Harrison Street house.The 9mm handgun police found near Scott had been reported stolen during a burglary about a week prior, police reports state.Scott endured a lengthy hospital stay due to his wounds. Scott’s right leg was amputated, he is paralyzed from the navel down, and he had to use a colostomy bag, his mother, Jasmin Johnson, previously told MLive.Prosecutors on Feb. 7 announced the two Saginaw police officers who shot Scott were justified in doing so and charges would not be forthcoming against them.“Considering all the circumstances, we conclude that the actions of law enforcement personnel were justified and consistent with preservation of self and others,” stated the Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office in a press release. “This office has reviewed the witness statements, video, and audio recordings of the incident, as well as other available evidence. We conclude that the use of deadly force in these circumstances was justified.”The next day, authorities issued a warrant for Scott. Police arrested him on Feb. 16 while serving a search warrant on another suspected drug house in the 1900 block of Green Street. Scott turned 18 four days after the more recent raid.Scott was not a resident of the Harrison Street house. Jail records list his address as the Green Street house where the Feb. 16 drug raid took place. Scott is not charged with a crime related to the search of the Green Street house.In an unrelated case in Oakland County, the two other teens who were at the Harrison Street, Wilson and Burrell, have been charged with felony murder, armed robbery, and firearm offenses stemming from the Nov. 14 fatal shooting of Maleik Gilmore in Pontiac.Investigators learned Gilmore had been selling drugs to the suspects and was shot as they tried to rob him, police have said. Investigators have said Burrell was the shooter.Facing the same four charges as Burrell and Wilson is 20-year-old Demetrious A. Brox Jr., who is a half-brother of Burrell. Jennifer M. Wilson, the 39-year-old mother of Burrell and Brox, is charged with accessory after the fact to a felony. She allegedly hid the three young men after the shooting, according to The Oakland Press.Burrell, Wilson, and Brox’s trial is slated to begin Jan. 9.No-knock warrants have been the subject of controversy in recent years.“Those who defend the tactic say that the majority of the raids do not lead to injuries and likely prevent violence and preserve evidence that otherwise would have been destroyed,” states an April 6 article by The Washington Post. “But critics say that the risks outweigh the benefits and are often not worth the amount of drugs recovered.”According to The Post’s article, at least 22 people have been killed since 2015 while police served such warrants. Among those deaths are those of Amir Locke and Breonna Taylor.Louisville police shot and killed Taylor, an ER technician, on March 13, 2020, when they entered her apartment as part of a drug investigation involving an ex-boyfriend. Though the warrant was approved at the no-knock variety, officers and prosecutors maintained police had knocked and announced themselves before entering Taylor’s apartment. Locke was killed Feb. 2 when Minneapolis police carried out a no-knock warrant while looking for others implicated in a homicide investigation.Read more:Saginaw teen shot by police in August drug raid recently arrested in another drug house, officers saySaginaw teen shot by police during raid charged with drawing gun on officersSaginaw police justified in shooting of teen during August drug raid, prosecutors ruleNew details emerge 6 months after police-involved shooting of Saginaw teen during execution of drug search warrant

How Criminal-Justice Reform Fell Apart – The Atlantic

By |2022-05-26T08:31:42-04:00May 26th, 2022|Breonna Taylor, Election 2020|

A typical way to think about history is as a series of turning points. Sometimes it’s just as useful to think about the moments that looked like turning points and then turned out not to be.For a brief period, culminating two summers ago, the United States seemed to be on the verge of a serious rethinking of its approach to criminal justice. Years of falling crime had made citizens open to new policies. Democrats and Republicans alike agreed that too many people were in American prisons for too long, and the GOP-led Congress passed the First Step Act, a major reform package that aimed to reduce federal prison sentences, in 2018. A series of police killings of Black people, starting with Michael Brown in 2014, had already brought new attention to the excesses of policing, use of force, and racism.Then in March 2020, Breonna Taylor died in a police raid gone wrong in Louisville, Kentucky, and in May 2020, George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis. These deaths galvanized already shifting public sentiment, and inspired the largest protests in American history. Support for Black Lives Matter, disapproval of police, and belief that Black Americans suffer regular discrimination surged, especially among white Americans.Two years later, those demonstrations look like a high-water mark in the push for reform, not a breakthrough moment. Rising violent-crime rates and changing political circumstances have sapped the demand for change. Many of the most ambitious overhauls considered after Floyd’s murder have been abandoned or reversed. Republicans have soured on the ideas behind the First Step Act. A May poll from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst finds diminished support for BLM and a range of police reforms. Voters even in the most liberal cities have signaled that they want tougher policies on crime. What’s now clear is that the support for criminal-justice reform was a mile wide and an inch deep.The biggest change is the rise in crime, especially violent crime. For reasons that are still not fully understood, several major categories of crime (but not all) began spiking during the summer of 2020. The jump was correlated with the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns, as well as with the protests. In a Pew Research Center poll in June 2020, just four in 10 Americans viewed violent crime as a very big problem. Today, 54 percent do—and nine in 10 say it’s at least a moderately big problem. (The increase reflects greater concern among white, Black, and Hispanic Americans alike.) Americans were ready to take a chance on reforms as long as they felt safe, but rising crime rates rattled confidence, even though crime nearly everywhere remains far below historical highs.One of the many victims of this crime wave was the fledgling bipartisan consensus on criminal justice. In 2016, Donald Trump campaigned for president while making false claims about rising crime, but early in his term, he embraced the First Step Act, under the influence of his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, whose father had been incarcerated. But Trump’s heart never seemed to be in it. After Floyd’s death, he initially condemned police violence, but quickly grasped that unreservedly backing police and warning about crime could be a useful wedge issue in his reelection campaign.Joe Biden, Trump’s opponent, was unusually well positioned to absorb these political blows. Although his role in passing the 1994 crime bill was a liability in the 2020 Democratic primary, his skepticism of calls to defund the police and long ties with law enforcement helped neutralize Trump’s attacks. They also probably neutralized the reform push once he took office. The White House adopted a hands-off approach as Congress tried and ultimately failed to reach a bipartisan deal on a police-reform bill. Later, when a draft executive order including new national standards and guidelines for policing leaked in January 2022, the White House moved to make nice with law-enforcement groups.Biden finally signed an executive order yesterday that establishes a database of fired officers, bans chokeholds, and includes some other provisions, but it’s only binding on federal law-enforcement agencies—not the overwhelming majority of the roughly 18,000 police departments in the country. Meanwhile, the issue has become the subject of the normal partisan bickering. “Last fall, Senate Republicans rejected the George Floyd Justice in Policing act,” Vice President Kamala Harris said at a ceremony unveiling the order. “They walked away from their moral obligation to address what caused millions of Americans to walk in the street, the critical need that a coalition of Americans were demanding, were pleading for, in terms of reform and accountability.”One of the most notable moments in Biden’s first State of the Union address, in March, came when the president said, “We should all agree: The answer is not to defund the police. The answer is to fund the police with the resources and training they need to protect our communities. Fund them. Fund them. Fund them.” Earlier this month, he called on states to spend stimulus money, passed as pandemic relief, on law enforcement. Funding police is not necessarily antithetical to new approaches—Democrats have noted that extra cash can help fund mental-health response programs as an alternative to sworn officers, for example—but Biden’s comments underscore how policy makers have switched their focus from reform to crime-fighting.One promise of the 2010s reform movement, with strong evidence in some instances, is that citizens could have fairer policing without sacrificing any safety. New York City provided the most celebrated example. Some officials had credited the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policing tactics with turning the once-edgy city into a remarkably safe one. But when the city ended stop-and-frisk under judicial and political pressure, crime continued to drop.As soon as crime began rising, however, citizens’ appetite for experimentation evaporated. In New York, voters elected a mayor whose major selling point was his experience as a police officer, and who promised a tougher tack on crime—notwithstanding the enigmas around the city’s safety wave. Voters in San Francisco and Los Angeles, who had elected avatars of the “progressive prosecutor” movement in 2019 and 2020, have now launched campaigns to recall them. In San Francisco, the recall vote is June 7, and polling suggests that District Attorney Chesa Boudin will lose. As my colleague Annie Lowrey writes, there is a persuasive argument that Boudin “simply isn’t good at the job,” but the dominant case against him—that he has made the city more dangerous—is questionable; in fact, there’s evidence that his policies might improve safety in the long term, but voters are antsy now. (In another sign of the national mood, Republicans placed demagogic attacks on Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson’s sentencing record at the heart of her confirmation hearings to the Supreme Court this spring.)Voters have rejected or reversed changes to police departments too. Although Los Angeles and Portland embarked on high-profile reductions in police budgets in 2020, both cities restored and increased funding in the face of rising murder rates. In Minneapolis, voters not only rejected a poorly thought-out proposal to replace the existing department with a new Department of Public Safety, but also ejected two incumbent city-council members who backed it. In Atlanta, city leaders who were quick to fire a reform-minded chief of police also forged ahead on a plan to build a massive police-training facility derided by activists as “Cop City.”Reformists have not been stopped everywhere. Austin embarked on a full overhaul of its department and police academy that has attracted national attention (and escaped punishment from state lawmakers, so far). Many cities, such as Durham, North Carolina, are experimenting with new alternative-response programs. Larry Krasner, the progressive prosecutor in Philadelphia, survived a reelection campaign against a rival backed by police unions. Overall, however, there is no question that reform momentum has ebbed.A continued retreat from reform is not certain. If crime levels off or drops, perhaps Americans will be ready to consider reform again. Maybe another horrific case like Floyd’s will reawaken anger, though the successful prosecution of officers involved in his death might give the impression that sufficient accountability exists. But as I warned when Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder in April 2021, individual prosecutions remain too rare and too narrow to produce serious shifts in the American system. Another danger is that a return of brutal policing tactics will drive down crime. The Princeton sociologist Patrick Sharkey has argued that now-abandoned methods can be effective at reducing crime, but unsustainably and at a great cost in justice. That means tough-on-crime tactics now might “work,” as measured in numbers, but wound the nation.Beyond policing, major overhauls to the justice system, such as reducing the world’s highest incarceration rate, would require citizens to accept less punitive approaches, such as allowing even people guilty of heinous crimes to eventually leave prison, as the journalist Adam Gopnik has written. The speed with which the national mood shifted from more incremental reforms back toward increased security doesn’t suggest that the American people are anywhere near prepared to take those steps.

Biden signs police reform executive order on 2nd anniversary of George Floyd's death : NPR

By |2022-05-26T12:24:04-04:00May 26th, 2022|Breonna Taylor|

President Biden has marked the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd by signing an executive order. It will set up some of the police reforms that stalled in Congress. SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST: Today is the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. President Biden marked the date by signing an executive order meant to change how police use force. NPR's Martin Kaste covers law enforcement and joins us now. Hi, Martin. MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: Hi, Sacha. PFEIFFER: How significant is the White House saying this order is? KASTE: Well, President Biden pointed to the presence at this signing of family members of George Floyd and also Breonna Taylor. That was the woman who was shot to death during a fast entry police raid of her apartment in Louisville back in 2020. And for him, the outcry over those deaths is what led to this executive order. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: It's a measure of what we can do together to heal the very soul of this nation, to address profound fear and trauma, exhaustion that particularly Black Americans have experienced for generations and to channel that private pain and public outrage into a rare mark of progress for years to come. KASTE: But at the same time, the president lamented that Congress has failed to pass more substantial police reform law, something he says he'd still like to see. PFEIFFER: What does this executive order actually change in American policing? KASTE: Well, the most direct effect here is on federal law enforcement; that's Border Patrol, FBI, that sort of agency. The officers in those agencies will now be told to use force, quote, "only when no reasonably effective, safe and feasible alternative appears to exist." They'll also be told that when it comes to deadly force, that's authorized only when necessary. The executive order gets specific about certain kinds of force. It limits the use of neck restraints, for instance. Those became notorious after a neck hold was blamed for the death of Eric Garner in 2014. And no-knock raids also will be more limited again for federal officers. That was after the outcry over the police raid that killed Breonna Taylor. PFEIFFER: Martin, you're saying this applies to federal officers, but didn't the cases that launched the protest movement involve local police? KASTE: Yeah, but the president can't order changes to local police. So what this does is it tries to encourage local police departments to follow the federal example. One way they might do that would be to make standards, these federal standards, a condition of some federal grants. Another thing it might do is - another thing it will do is set up a new federal database to keep track of misconduct by police officers, though, again, the only ones required to use that database would be the federal law enforcement agencies. It'll be voluntary for local police departments. And we have seen with other federal data-collecting initiatives that local police can be slow to cooperate with those data-collection efforts. We've seen that, for instance, with a new effort to collect data about police use of force. But, you know, this order sticks with that encouragement tact rather than forcing change. And police organizations do prefer that. The national executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, Jim Pasco, talked about this new executive order with our colleague Tamara Keith yesterday. JIM PASCO: We've found common ground where it didn't seem likely that any could be found. And that said, you know, I don't think either side is 100% happy with it, you know, us or the civil rights community. But I think it's a good foundation, a good framework for improving the relationship between police and the communities they serve. PFEIFFER: He just mentioned the civil rights community, the reformers, basically. Are they on board with this? KASTE: Well, they certainly support these changes, but I do think there is some sense of disappointment. I talked to Walter Katz about this. He's a former public defender who's had a lot of experience working on police reform at the city level. WALTER KATZ: I think this is a relatively small step. There was great promise in 2020 and 2021, at least in the beginning. And I think since then, some of the energy dissipated. So I think the Biden administration has taken a step forward within the power that it has. KASTE: But Katz does add that he sees potential in the fact that at least we'll have some clear national standards now for higher standards of use of force, which may smooth the path for police departments that want to raise the bar for use of force and for legislators who want to put those things into state law. That's something that's already been happening in several states the last couple of years. And the hope here is that federal norms may accelerate that process on a state level. PFEIFFER: That's NPR's Martin Kaste. Thank you. KASTE: You're welcome. (SOUNDBITE OF SIGUR ROS SONG, "FLJOTAVIK") Copyright © 2022 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information. NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Biden signs police reform executive order on 2nd anniversary of George Floyd's death – NHPR

By |2022-05-25T22:40:01-04:00May 25th, 2022|Breonna Taylor|

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:Today is the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. President Biden marked the date by signing an executive order meant to change how police use force.NPR's Martin Kaste covers law enforcement and joins us now. Hi, Martin.MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: Hi, Sacha.PFEIFFER: How significant is the White House saying this order is?KASTE: Well, President Biden pointed to the presence at this signing of family members of George Floyd and also Breonna Taylor. That was the woman who was shot to death during a fast entry police raid of her apartment in Louisville back in 2020. And for him, the outcry over those deaths is what led to this executive order.(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: It's a measure of what we can do together to heal the very soul of this nation, to address profound fear and trauma, exhaustion that particularly Black Americans have experienced for generations and to channel that private pain and public outrage into a rare mark of progress for years to come.KASTE: But at the same time, the president lamented that Congress has failed to pass more substantial police reform law, something he says he'd still like to see.PFEIFFER: What does this executive order actually change in American policing?KASTE: Well, the most direct effect here is on federal law enforcement; that's Border Patrol, FBI, that sort of agency. The officers in those agencies will now be told to use force, quote, "only when no reasonably effective, safe and feasible alternative appears to exist." They'll also be told that when it comes to deadly force, that's authorized only when necessary.The executive order gets specific about certain kinds of force. It limits the use of neck restraints, for instance. Those became notorious after a neck hold was blamed for the death of Eric Garner in 2014. And no-knock raids also will be more limited again for federal officers. That was after the outcry over the police raid that killed Breonna Taylor.PFEIFFER: Martin, you're saying this applies to federal officers, but didn't the cases that launched the protest movement involve local police?KASTE: Yeah, but the president can't order changes to local police. So what this does is it tries to encourage local police departments to follow the federal example. One way they might do that would be to make standards, these federal standards, a condition of some federal grants. Another thing it might do is - another thing it will do is set up a new federal database to keep track of misconduct by police officers, though, again, the only ones required to use that database would be the federal law enforcement agencies. It'll be voluntary for local police departments.And we have seen with other federal data-collecting initiatives that local police can be slow to cooperate with those data-collection efforts. We've seen that, for instance, with a new effort to collect data about police use of force. But, you know, this order sticks with that encouragement tact rather than forcing change. And police organizations do prefer that. The national executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, Jim Pasco, talked about this new executive order with our colleague Tamara Keith yesterday.JIM PASCO: We've found common ground where it didn't seem likely that any could be found. And that said, you know, I don't think either side is 100% happy with it, you know, us or the civil rights community. But I think it's a good foundation, a good framework for improving the relationship between police and the communities they serve.PFEIFFER: He just mentioned the civil rights community, the reformers, basically. Are they on board with this?KASTE: Well, they certainly support these changes, but I do think there is some sense of disappointment. I talked to Walter Katz about this. He's a former public defender who's had a lot of experience working on police reform at the city level.WALTER KATZ: I think this is a relatively small step. There was great promise in 2020 and 2021, at least in the beginning. And I think since then, some of the energy dissipated. So I think the Biden administration has taken a step forward within the power that it has.KASTE: But Katz does add that he sees potential in the fact that at least we'll have some clear national standards now for higher standards of use of force, which may smooth the path for police departments that want to raise the bar for use of force and for legislators who want to put those things into state law. That's something that's already been happening in several states the last couple of years. And the hope here is that federal norms may accelerate that process on a state level.PFEIFFER: That's NPR's Martin Kaste. Thank you.KASTE: You're welcome.(SOUNDBITE OF SIGUR ROS SONG, "FLJOTAVIK") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Patrick Lyoya's father greets president at White House order-signing on police reform – mlive.com

By |2022-05-25T22:40:03-04:00May 25th, 2022|Breonna Taylor|

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The father of Patrick Lyoya, the Grand Rapids man who died after a police shooting, attended a White House event where President Biden signed an order on police accountability.An interpreter for the Lyoya family, Israel Siku, confirmed that he and Peter Lyoya attended the ceremony, along with civil rights attorney Ben Crump and attorney Ven Johson.Siku and Peter Lyoya were able to greet Biden.“I just told the president that (Peter’s) son was killed and that (Peter) was asking for reforms and for justice,” Siku said.He said Peter Lyoya was honored to attend the event.Peter Lyoya’s son, 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya, was fatally shot April 4 in an 8:11 a.m. traffic stop in Southeast Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids Police Officer Christopher Schurr pulled Lyoya’s car over and told him the license plate did not match the vehicle.Lyoya tried to run and a lengthy struggle ensued between the two as they fought over control of the officer’s Taser. The struggle was continuing when Schurr, who was on top of Lyoya, pulled out his gun and shot Lyoya in the head.The incident was captured on a cell phone video taken by a passenger in Lyoya’s car.An autopsy showed Lyoya’s blood-alcohol level was 0.29.National and local civil rights leaders have called for the officer to be fired and criminally charged.Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker is working with state police, and expert sources, to get more information before making a decision on charges.Peter Lyoya was at Wednesday’s ceremony with members of the family of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman shot and killed as police served a warrant in Louisville in March 2020, along with members of the family of George Floyd, a Black man who died when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck.Other families with ties to police shootings also attended.The order requires federal law enforcement agencies to revise use-of-force policies It also creates a national database on misconduct citations against federal officers.But it does not apply to local or state officers. A bill titled the George Floyd Justice in Police Act, which would apply to local officers, has failed to gain enough support in Congress.Related:Black man’s fatal shooting by Grand Rapids police ‘very sad day for our city’Kent County prosecutor receiving hundreds of calls, emails about Patrick Lyoya caseWeek’s worth of justice for Patrick Lyoya protests create these scenes in Grand Rapids‘Most horrifying thing I’ve ever seen:’ 5 takeaways from Patrick Lyoya’s parents’ emotional statementsJustice for Patrick Lyoya protest at Michigan Capitol features his family, people from other states

Biden Signs Police Reform Order on Floyd Death Anniversary

By |2022-05-25T20:38:52-04:00May 25th, 2022|Breonna Taylor|

washington —  President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed an executive order that he said would bring more accountability and effectiveness to policing and criminal justice, on the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, a Black Minneapolis resident, by a police officer. “It's a measure of what we can do together to heal the very soul of this nation,” Biden said. “To address profound fear and trauma, exhaustion – that particularly Black Americans have experienced for generations – and a channel of private pain and public outrage into a rare marker of progress for years to come.” The executive order creates a national database that logs police misconduct; strives for timely, thorough and stronger investigations; mandates body cameras; bans chokeholds and carotid restraints; restricts use of no-knock entries by police; and sets up new standards, among other things. Executive orders are directives that U.S. presidents use to manage operations of the federal government. President Joe Biden hugs Tamika Palmer, mother of Breonna Taylor, as the Reverend Al Sharpton watches after Biden signed an executive order on police accountability at the White House, May 25, 2022, in Washington. Taylor, a Black medical worker, was killed by Louisville police in March 2020 during a botched raid on her residence. U.S. legislators last year failed to agree on a new law aimed at police reform, so this order applies only to federal agencies – something critics were quick to note and that Biden acknowledged Wednesday, when he reiterated his call for the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would affect state and local police departments. "This is mostly not a federal issue that we're dealing with in this country,” Howard Henderson told VOA on Wednesday, via Zoom. He is the founder of the Houston-based Center for Justice Research and a fellow at the Brookings Institution. “Most of these issues are happening at the state and local level, primarily locally,” he added. “We have to begin to take what Biden signed ... today and move it down to the local level because we need most common human police interaction to be governed by the same sorts of regulations to curtail negative behavior.” 'Major win' A website run by the decentralized Black Lives Matter movement hailed the action as “a major win for the organizations like BLMGNF, who have been working with the White House to help develop it since the end of 2020.” The initialism stands for Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. “However,” the statement continued, “one of the greatest systemic factors affecting the livelihood of Black communities is the continued overpolicing, brutalization and incarceration of our people. Violence by police tears our families apart; leaves emotional, logistical and financial gaps in our communities; and steals the lives of so many of our loved ones before they get the chance to achieve their dreams. “We need the next phase of the action plan to explicitly address how federal agencies will update their policies to hold officers and departments at the local, state and federal level accountable for the way they engage with Black people,” the statement said. Damon Hewitt, the president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, called the order “a commendable first step to address a deeply unjust system. I’m optimistic that the Biden administration will continue this work to ensure that local and state police departments mirror the reform we’re seeing unfold on a federal level.” The brutal May 25, 2020, killing of Floyd reverberated around the globe, cutting through concerns about an incipient pandemic and sending thousands of Americans and others into the streets to protest racist police practices. “From Europe to the Middle East to Asia to Australia, people saw their own fight for justice and equality,” Biden said. Challenges worldwide Henderson told VOA he hoped that better practices in the U.S. would also echo around the world. “From the Netherlands to South Africa, we understand the challenges that we face around the world,” he said. “Police reform is not only just necessary in the United States, but police reform is an international issue. And I'm pretty sure that we're going to see an international response to what we've seen just today.” President Joe Biden gives a pen to Gianna Floyd, the daughter of George Floyd, after he signed an executive order on police accountability in the East Room of the White House, May 25, 2022, in Washington. The order came on the second anniversary of George Floyd's death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. Floyd was 46 when he was killed on a street corner in Minneapolis in front of a crowd of onlookers who begged Police Officer Derek Chauvin to lift his knee from Floyd’s neck. Police had responded to a call that Floyd attempted to use a counterfeit $20 bill to pay for cigarettes. Chauvin was later convicted on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter and sentenced to 22.5 years in prison. On Wednesday at the White House, Biden invited Floyd’s daughter, Gianna, to sit at the desk after he signed the executive order. She silently took his seat, her feet barely touching the floor, and stared down quietly at the document before her. She was 6 years old when her father was killed.

Go to Top