It has been nearly a year since the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd sparked a summer of social unrest that rocked Minneapolis, Louisville, Atlanta, Los Angeles and several cities around the world. As these demonstrations took place, protesters documented being pelted with rubber bullets, tear-gassed and unjustly detained. In the months that have followed, the New York Times began reviewing reports from outside investigators regarding the actions of police departments in several major cities like Oakland and New York. Through these efforts, the outlet confirmed what many had seen on social media and found potential solutions to these issues.
"Almost uniformly, the reports said departments need more training in how to handle large protests. They also offered a range of recommendations to improve outcomes in the future: Departments need to better work with community organizers, including enlisting activists to participate in training or consulting with civil rights attorneys on protest-management policies," Kim Barker, Mark Baker and Ali Watkins of the New York Times stated.
"Leaders need to develop more restrictive guidelines and better supervision of crowd control munitions, such as tear gas. Officers need more training to manage their emotions and aggressions as part of de-escalation strategies."
These reports further support the legal proceedings that have been taken place throughout the country. In New York, Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit against the NYPD for the handling of summer protests in 2020. Elsewhere, the city of Minneapolis settled a lawsuit with Ericka Khounedaleth for nearly $60,000 after officers pulled her out of the car and pointed guns at her without warning.
The changes that many police departments claim they have tried to make will be tested in the weeks to come. As the world slowly returns to a new normal, the killings of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery will come back in to focus as the men responsible for their deaths will stand trial.
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