ORLANDO, Fla. – As the U.S. enters its third week of protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the national unrest has sparked change at the state and national level.
Floyd’s brutal death was caught on video, footage showing Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck until Floyd goes limp. The video went viral, sparking outrage and calls for police accountability and policy reform.
Here’s a roundup of reforms that have happened since Floyd’s death on May 25.
Minneapolis bans use of chokeholds
After 10 days of sometimes violent protests, the Minneapolis City Council held an emergency virtual meeting where members voted to ban police from using chokeholds and neck restraints.
The decision was negotiated as part of an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which opened a civil rights investigation into the city’s police department.
The vote also adjusted police protocols, requiring officers to intervene and make a report if they witness excessive use of force or face severe disciplinary measures if they fail to do so.
Other places like Dallas, New Jersey and Maryland are also reviewing officer use of force guidelines and reforming or adding duty to intervene protocols.
Charges upgraded against Officer Derek Chauvin
The officer seen in the video kneeling on Floyd’s neck Derek Chauvin was fired from the department after the footage surfaced but not immediately charged.
Charges were eventually brought forth against Chauvin. He was originally arrested on third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges. Prosecutors upgraded Chauvin’s charge last week to include second-degree murder.
The second-degree murder count carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, compared with 25 years for third-degree murder.
Three officers present also charged in connection with Floyd’s Death
Bystander video of Floyd’s death show there were three other Minneapolis police officers present as Floyd drew his last breath -- none were seen intervening.
Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao were fired from the department along with Chauvin, but p
rotests and petitions called for the three to be formally charged.
[RELATED STORY: Duty to intervene: Floyd cops spoke up but didn’t step in]
Last week, as prosecutors upgraded Chauvin’s charges Lane, Keung and Thao were charged for the first time.
The complaints against the other officers accuse them of aiding and abetting Chauvin’s actions and of manslaughter.
Police brutality captured on video leads to swift action
Among videos of looting and aggression toward police, footage has surfaced of officers in various cities using force against protestors -- some calling their actions police brutality. Cities and departments have responded with consequences for such instances.
A News 6 investigation revealed officers do not always face legal consequences when using excessive or deadly. As protests persist over the death of Floyd, instances of swift action have taken place.
Two Buffalo police officers were recently charged with assault after a video showed them shoving a 75-year-old protestor. The elderly man fell backward and hit his head on the sidewalk. Blood spilled as officers walk past the man, in the video.
The officers have since made bail.
In Florida, a Fort. Lauderdale police officer is under investigation after video shows him appearing to shove a kneeling protester.
Footage shows the officer approaching protesters, telling them to back up. Demonstrators then kneeled chanting “hands up don’t shoot.” In the video, the officer seems to shove one of the women kneeling.
The officer is seen returning to his squad car as two other colleagues run after him, one of the officers identified as Officer Krystal Smith appeared to scold him.
The Fort Lauderdale Police Department commended Smith, a black female officer on the force, for her actions as they announced the officer accused of shoving a peaceful protester was relieved of duty.
He’s been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement determine if he violated police protocol.
Street in Washington D.C. named Black Lives Matter Plaza
A street in Washington D.C. has been dubbed “Black Lives Matter Plaza.”
The area has since been painted with Black Lives Matter murals on both the roadways and on nearby building walls, gaining national attention for its size.
Mayor Muriel Bowser approved the gestures, marking a section of 16th Street with a new street sign by St. John’s Episcopal Church.
The church is across the street from the White House and is where President Trump was photographed holding an un-opened Bible during protests.
Central Florida law enforcement agencies reviewing policies
In a town hall hosted by Orange County leaders, Orlando Police and the Sheriff’s Office said their citizens’ review boards will be reviewing their use of force policies Tuesday.
The decision comes as their jurisdictions have seen demonstrations demanding change after the death of Floyd. The protests varying in size from dozens of people to large-scale demonstrations with thousands of participants.
Though the city has seen protests for more than a week, they have been mostly peaceful according to the Orlando Police Department.
The department said it did not make any arrests over the weekend after demonstrations attended by more than 10,000 people were held across the city.
Possible legislative action
Democrats proposed a sweeping overhaul of police oversight and procedures Monday, a potentially far-reaching legislative response to the mass protests denouncing the deaths of black Americans at the hands of law enforcement.
Before unveiling the package, House and Senate Democrats held a moment of silence at the Capitol’s Emancipation Hall, reading the names of George Floyd and others killed during police interactions. They knelt for 8 minutes and 46 seconds — the length of time prosecutors say Floyd was pinned under a white police officer’s knee before he died.
“We cannot settle for anything less than transformative structural change,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, drawing on the nation's history of slavery.
The Justice in Policing Act would limit legal protections for police, create a national database of excessive-force incidents and ban police choke holds, among other changes, according to an early draft. It is the most ambitious change to law enforcement sought by Congress in years.