On the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd — a Black man who killing by Minneapolis police sparked waves of protests nationally — activists rallied outside Los Angeles City Hall Tuesday to continue their push for changes in law enforcement and major slashes in police funding.
The group of about 200 people rallied in the area between City Hall and Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, at times chanting “Defund the Police,” before marching to the Museum of Social Justice on Olvera Street.
The gathering was organized by Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, which dubbed the effort “Stay In These Streets In Honor of #GeorgeFloyd.”
“For our organization, of course we’re commemorating the murder of George Floyd one year ago today and looking at whether or not the kind of change that was promised a year ago has occurred in the Los Angeles area,” BLM organizer Paula Minor told KTLA5. “And we feel that not enough change has occurred, particularly in law enforcement.”
Additional gatherings are anticipated in the Southland throughout the day.
The former Minneapolis police officer who killed Floyd — Derek Chauvin — was convicted of the murder last month.
Floyd’s killing sparked months of civil unrest as millions of Americans around the nation took to the streets to call for police accountability and to attempt to dismantle systemic racism. Numerous protests were held across the Southland, with many gatherings devolving into violent confrontations with law enforcement, and some marred by looters ransacking and vandalizing stores.
As the rally was being held in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday, the city’s Police Commission was meeting virtually, with the panel’s president, Eileen Decker, noting the somber anniversary and discussing changes that have been implemented in local policing — banning choke holds, updating use-of-force policies, adding policies on no-knock warrants and searches and developing alternative-dispatch models to modernize response to various calls for help.
“What is clear is that our work as a commission is not done,” she said. “We absolutely must do more. This commission will remain committed to advancing more reforms, working to ensure all communities in Los Angeles can feel confident in their police department, and that the department provides protection that is deeply needed in many communities — but does so in a way that is consistent with the Constitution. We certainly have much work to do.”
LAPD Chief Michel Moore again expressed his “disgust and disdain” at the video of Floyd’s arrest, with Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. He also insisted that changes are being made by the commission and the department to improve policing and bolster relations between law enforcement and communities of color.
“Our work over this last year has been to meet this moment and to demonstrate our commitment to improve policing, to evolve policing,” Moore said. “I’m proud of the work of our people, in trying times and circumstances, their work and their valor. But also their willingness to lean into this and meet this moment with a commitment of quality and continuous improvement — that we go out each day and build trust living up to our mission, by ensuring our adherence to our core values.
“There will be those that my remarks will perhaps ring hollow, … but my commitment as chief … is to proudly wear this badge, is to recognize that it is an awesome privilege, and with it comes great responsibility, and that we hold ourselves accountable, not just as an organization but on an individual basis.”