In the two weeks since the killing of George Floyd, a yearning for social justice has overpowered calls for social distancing.
The betterment of policing is a halting process. Some see small acts of police outreach as performative, and counter with new video evidence of brutality. Some view police unions as blind protectors of officers who overstep.
Still, Minneapolis police have banned chokeholds (and the city council seeks to restructure the department). Seattle has temporarily halted the use of tear gas. Talk of ending “qualified immunity,” which makes it nearly impossible to successfully sue law enforcement officers, has revived. So has talk of training standards for the nation’s 18,000-plus police forces.
The head of the NFL, which censured a star for kneeling in protest in 2016, apologized for having ignored the concerns of black players and now supports players’ right to peaceful protest. The energy of persistent protest may be lifting voter registration.
Now, calls are rising for service worthy of gratitude.
“We need police ... in our communities,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told CNN Friday. “We all call upon them at one time or another.” A day before she had thanked protesters for honoring Mr. Floyd and others. “There’s something better on the other side of this for us,” she said, “and there’s something better on the other side for our children’s children.”
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