PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — George Floyd was killed by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin one year ago today. It has been a year of hurt, anger, protests and the beginning of change.
His murder is also highlighting very important conversations about being Black in America.
Ever since Floyd was murdered by a police officer, there have been calls for change. So where do things stand one year later?
In many ways, police reforms on use of force, body cameras and even department transparency got a shot of momentum in the wake of Floyd’s death.
Pennsylvania State Rep. Jordan Harris points to reform bills that made their way through the state legislature.
“We now have a deputy inspector general who is responsible for the oversight in the investigation of police misconduct, waste, fraud, and abuse at the state level,” Harris said.
Floyd’s killing accelerated long-sought conversations and action about how police are investigated when excessive force is alleged.
Pennsylvania lawmakers moved legislation allowing departments to check into a candidate’s past conduct in a greater attempt to weed out bad cops.
“Where when police officers are found to have done misconduct, these things go into a database so that if they go somewhere else, the things of their past follow them,” Harris said.
Paul Smith is the reconciliation director for John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s National Network for Safe Communities. He agreed while improvement in policing and police oversight has happened, there’s always room for more.
“When you see protests going on, that means that there’s something else that needs to be changed, and with accountability, communities want to address legal estrangement through which the law and its enforcers signal to marginalize groups and marginalize communities,” Smith said.
One police chief says his key takeaway in Floyd’s murder is that once you have a person in custody and they are no longer a threat, the officer becomes their caretaker.
He says it’s important young officers learn this and that veteran officers remember it.