Many of those marching want police departments defunded, a goal which includes seeing money from the police budget diverted to instead invest in local communities, as well as reconsidering what types of situations require police at all.
And some cities are beginning to listen.
The mayor of San Francisco announced last week that local law enforcement will no longer respond to non-criminal calls, in a move to reduce confrontations between police and civilians.
This is what #DefundThePolice means. Don’t let white nationalists and Trump make you afraid of the term. Be more evolved.— Ava DuVernay (@ava) June 12, 2020
Defunding police means defunding armed responses to issues that don’t need a gun. Building healthier, more humane responses instead. https://t.co/CFMr4JAyF5
Rather than approaching situations such as neighborly disputes, school discipline, or reports of homeless activity with police officers and guns, unarmed professionals trained to handle such incidents will be sent out instead.
This is only one part of a plan to reform police introduced by the mayor.
I applaud San Francisco for taking this step. A more triaged approach to handling non-violent calls for assistance.— Romell Cummings (@romellcummings) June 15, 2020
We need trained mental health professionals responding to non-violent crimes, not armed police. #RashardBrooks pic.twitter.com/mLKKXMBxEv
Other steps include banning military-grade weapons and investing money in local Black communities.
“We know that a lack of equity in our society overall leads to a lot of the problems that police are being asked to solve,” Mayor London Breed said in a press release. “We are going to keep going with these additional reforms and continuing to find ways to reinvest in communities that have historically been underserved and harmed by systemic racism.”
The city also plans to come up with strategies to address racial bias in the police force and increase accountability for officers.
The announcement comes in the wake of numerous protests calling for change.
What began as a call for the officers who stood by as Floyd was killed to be charged turned into a much greater movement, demanding sweeping changes to the structure and budget of law enforcement in the United States.
During that time, more Black men have been killed in confrontations with police officers that many say never should have happened in the first place, including Rayshard Brooks, who was fatally shot by a cop in Atlanta after falling asleep in a Wendy’s drive-thru line.
Other cities, such as Baltimore and Los Angeles, are also moving to strike funds from police budgets, though activists are clear that token concessions are not enough, and deep changes still need to be made.