Remembering George Floyd: A year of protest

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd's death at the hands of then-officer Derek Chauvin sparked a wave of protests across the world, but did the historic movement change policing in America?
13:58 | 05/25/21

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Transcript for Remembering George Floyd: A year of protest
On May 28 when he took money from George wade was killed by police officers in Minneapolis after he was. Houston easing a twenty dollar bill story. In the days and weeks that followed protesters filled the streets in all fifty states and sixty other countries. Sparking one of the biggest movement police reform and racial justice in history. I thought you could giving special we have seen so many videos of people either being brutalized or killed at the hands of the law enforcement. But this tape was so egregious. That it was the catalyst more protests and every single state. Many countries around the world. Justice for George fled looks like George Slade actually being liked there's nothing that a settlement can do. There's nothing that this guilty verdict can do to actually. Combat the fact that George Floyd is no longer here. In the years since Flagstaff and the start of historic protest movement this policing in America changed. How will history remember this month. You might be able to see on the other side of this intersection that massive crowd. Gathered here for this protest people from all over Minneapolis showing up here to demonstrate tonight. I got a call. 5 something in the morning hey you need to get on a plane they need to head over to Minneapolis I quickly knew this was going to be. Monumental. Story. Turning counter with officers outside a store in Minneapolis torch flame was killed by an officer Gary show thin on me conflict when he tried and he's manner. A video showing the murder found. By a witness who was posted defaced but the next day cool video quickly spread across social media. By that evening protesters began taking to the streets in Minneapolis. That video really allowed the world to observe that moment it's ten minutes. You know it's not something where it's a kind of instinct. Somebody did something quickly and it all feels very accidental it's incredibly deliberate. I didn't know what to do at the moment though is like unreal you know he's seen this happen and throwing youths. You know is a murder you know in what do you do you quota he called the police if you witness a murder and called police and police because about witness. Homered. I think after listening who recently. Tragic and Jewish Floyd's wife we were all in London law enforcement very upset it. And repulse as most people war we were stained. Across the country as being to our children and went. When we were close to people tell me you know different things I helped deliver children they took people to the hospital noise code confident victims of my. I did all these things and none of that us all out the window and out this. Weston 44 hours after George Bush dies I'm on the ground there in Minneapolis and you can feel the tension in the air usually. You see a lot of these protests and demonstrations and it's black people fighting for other black people. But here in this case we saw people of all races and cultures taking to the streets and say. You know what I can't believe what I just salt we have to do something amount this. In those moments there was a lot of anger put. He didn't seem like anybody really had any solutions and end that's the precinct. They wanted to express their anger expressed how wrong this wise and that's why I think we south. People take to the streets and away. It. A year goes like Chris are protesting or being this politically active. I have watched. A lot of people it looked like he died on media in the past decade and and and that at that moment I watched that video and new to actually definitely there. Remember him. Men in America you know police has always profile photos and you know always put us over for use is species and things like that so. This is gonna put a hiring sign it's America what we go through an everyday basis and our own community. Vehicle lease by people outside of our own community. There's a growing understanding that this is not just a rare and idiosyncratic thing. That we have as systemic problem in this country of access use of force and each individual video each individual incident. Might have its own particular Larry eighties but I think the public is beginning to appreciate that there's a pattern. And that pattern reveals something that. Many in Black America understood that may not have been as visible too much of non Black America. In the following week's protests will be held regularly across the global. Polls suggest that between fifteen to 26 million people in the US alone attended at least one protest and rally in June pretty funny. Which is estimated to be one of the largest protest movements in US history. We've been seeing a series of incidents building Ahmard arbor read and Rihanna Taylor and others that we're gaining attention. In a way you video George Floyd was there a straw that broke the camel's. And I suspect the fact that this was happening in the midst of the code the crisis meant that there's just. Ways in which. More people could pay attention more people to be mobilized. And all of that played a role in allowing this one moment really capture the attention of the nation. Polls suggest that he 4% of American adults we're following news about the protests at least fairly closely at the beginning June. Terms like black rights matter police reform protests and even broader terms that police were searched on Google more in June 20/20. And any other point in Google's history. Key strategy of the civil rights activists in. Late 1950s and early sixties. Was two organized protests so that they could be documented by ITV news crews. As a way to move public opinion and force change. In the 1960s. They needed NBC or ABC or CBS to calm with big cameras and document those protests. And now individual activists with just a Smart phone news and. Tried to document state violence on their own. We saw a lot of attention by the press to these issues. Police violence concerns about racial injustice also focus on violence and protests. The movement was very effective act basic putting police reform on the national agenda. A year after flight stats debate over how policing should look to him and remains prevalent. And resolved case. One of the biggest obstacles is that people just can't agree on what role they would like the police department to play in their community. And so. Indiana as the months passed there isn't really a lot of affirm. Sort of changes that you could put your hands on but. We have seen small incremental changes and Minneapolis police department and police departments at various parts of the country where they're working on banning told colts like the one we saw torch Floyd undergo they're working on. Different. Plants at key escalation. They're number of ways reform has happened in the past probably the most important one in recent history was. Federal legislation that allowed the federal government to. Investigate local police forces and then negotiate consent decrees if they find that there are significant rights violations in those police forces that comes out of the wave. Violent protest in Los Angeles in 1992 that follows the acquittal. Before officers who were caught on camera beating Rodney King there's a long black freedom struggle. That is building up to moments. Like the march on Washington. Where within a year of the march on Washington we get the 1964 Civil Rights Act within a year the marches in Selma Alabama for voting rights we get that 1965 voting rights act so. On the one hand there is this and short. Window between when the nation says this is urgent and legislation gets passed but it's also important to Steve that. There are these long run slow moving process he's as well there that are creating the preconditions. Where that change. The common cry among protesters was to defund or abolish the police. Some cities like boxed in Minneapolis and Seattle. Voted in 20/20 to reallocate funds from police departments to other services like housing and mental health assistance. But creating a blanket blueprint for reforming it department that will work in every city is difficult. You have to remember there are some 181000 and it is small municipalities. At different jurisdictions and across the country when it comes to police departments and so finding. In agreement in. Local level federal level it becomes a very fairy complicated issue when you realize allocate funding from one to another. It has to be sure that it works you have some kind of model that you can use two in there in lies that is part of scripting. Crime so she's. Being less invasive. More responsible. More trans time and yet maintain problem. As of may twentieth between 2140. States enacted significant legislation around policing policy in the last year. Of those seventeen enacted legislation addressing the use of neck restraints like the one used on for Floyd. More states have policing legislation pending. But actual legislation has been more slow moving the door to a justice and policing act was introduced just over a week after flights stacked. But has been revised in the last year and is still awaiting passage in the senate. I will tell you that. Over the last fifty years members of the Congressional Black Caucus every single year. Have attempted to introduce and pass legislation. Related to policing and did not succeed. And the key ingredient that was different this time was the massive movement that took place in every single state. And so the goal is how do we prevent these type. Of incidences from a current what will bring about a fundamental change and the George Lloyd justice and policing act. Is a very serious first step. In that direction the goal is to stop choke holds to stop no knock warrants to end. Qualified immunity to be able to prosecute. Officers so the goal is to change the culture. Of policing in the United States. The act as one of the most sweeping bills regulating police and federal level they're still criticism from police and protesters. I believe that the protest did shift something that politically and like legislatively. I feel like we're definitely falling short. The culture of policing is inherently violent and no matter how many good people go into the system trying to changes this system itself is broke. You cannot train brutality out of American policing. You're putting him ahead of police officers that they won't be backed up this city when they're compelled to take action. Then I'm doing it took for themselves personally that doing so in a fashion to help the city out helpless person resolved to mitigate any issue that comes vote. The number of protests an amount of averages declined over time. But the impact athletes at. And movement that followed will likely be felt for years what I am very encouraged mind is that although it is not in the headlines with hundreds of thousands of people out in the street. It is still very much viewed as absolutely important issue in this house. Both in the house in the senate Democrats and Republicans so we are not walking away from this issue. For a generation of young people who came of age in the last few years. This is been a defining issue there are coming to political consciousness. And I think. We will see the ripple effects of that over many years to come. Saying that always sticks with me is and decades nothing can change bay in weeks we can change decades. I don't wanna see another mass mobilization in the streets only beach is it probably means another black person died. But I do want to see another mass mobilization of people holding their elected officials accountable. Policy in mass mobilization. Of people actually hoping he took in our communities. Do you like to see changed so we would like to see. People in our community police here. And it's always hard to predict. What history is going to think of something twenty years from now fifty years. But one thing that seems clear right now is. This was a moment when America people of all colors sad enough is enough. And we have to change the way we operate in. Yeah.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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