Things That Matter

There’s Still More To Do But Black Lives Matter Protests Have Resulted In These Major Police Reforms

In the wake of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, the country has struggled with how to best respond to police brutality and racial inequality. Millions of Americans (and millions more around the world) have poured into the streets demanding justice and police accountability.

Although more Black Americans have been killed by police since the death of George Floyd – and long before him – police reform is finally starting to take shape. Several communities across the United States are discussing ways to defund and restructure their police forces and their entire approach to supporting and protecting communities.

Although several victories have already been won, there is still so much work to do to ensure that #BlackLivesMatter.

Minneapolis will defund and dismantle their police force.

The Minneapolis City Council on Friday unanimously approved a proposal to change the city charter to allow the Police Department to be dismantled – this is the first step in removing the police force.

The 12-0 vote is just the first step in a process that still faces significant obstacles to make the November ballot, where the city’s voters would have the final say. Activists have long accused the department of being unable to change a racist and brutal culture, and earlier this month, a majority of the council proclaimed support for dismantling the department.

Draft language of the amendment posted online would replace the department with a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, “which will have responsibility for public safety services prioritizing a holistic, public health-oriented approach

Cities such as New York and Los Angeles are defunding their police departments.

Credit: Emily Uite/ Getty Images

Aside from completely dismantling the police, several major cities have committed to defunding their police departments. “Defund the police” has become a common protest chant, as protesters want to see the billions of dollars spent on police equipment and enforcement to instead be spent on investing in communities.

Several jurisdictions have implemented total bans on the police use of choke holds – like the one that killed Eric Gardner.

The NYPD has long banned the use of chokeholds, however, their ban is so often ignored by officers that viral videos of NYPD cops using the deadly maneuver are common. But the New York City Council has just adopted an ordinance that officially makes police use of a chokehold a misdemeanor offense.

The legal ban has already been put into action as an NYPD officer was caught on video using one against a suspect. That officer has already been fired and charged.

Although several police departments have long banned the chokehold – for example, the LAPD banned them 40 years ago – cities are now starting to actually attempt to enforce the ban with legal consequences.

For the first time in decades, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a police reform bill.

Democrats and Republicans are deadlocked over how to address racial inequities in policing, despite strong public sentiment for effective reform after Floyd died in Minneapolis as a white policeman knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

In June, the House passed sweeping legislation to address racial inequality in policing but the bill is all but dead on arrival in the Senate, and has a formal veto threat from Trump.

The bill addresses chokeholds, no-knock warrants, police body cameras, use of deadly force, and training to de-escalate confrontations with suspects and to encourage officer intervention against illegal conduct as it occurs.

And one thing is clear – these reforms have the support of most Americans.

Credit: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Most Americans believe that change must be made to law enforcement across the nation and that reforms are needed to reduce police brutality against Black Americans.

The poll, which was conducto de by Ipsos on behalf of Public Agenda and USA TODAY, found that about three in four people surveyed say racial bias against Black Americans is a serious problem in the U.S.

The poll found several reforms that focused around training and diversity in policing had support from three-quarters or more of respondents: requiring all officers to undergo training on de-escalation tactics to avoid the use of force, requiring all officers to undergo training on how to be less racially biased and recruiting more Black Americans to become police officers.

Even more popular: transparency reforms. Nine in 10 respondents supported having officers wear body cameras, 8 in 10 supported requiring police departments to publicly report all incidents involving the use of force within 72 hours, and nearly as many supported creating a national public database of officers who have used excessive force – and prohibiting other jurisdictions from rehiring them.

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Netflix Is Bringing Back Seven Classic Black Sitcoms And They’re Already On My Binge List

Entertainment

Netflix Is Bringing Back Seven Classic Black Sitcoms And They’re Already On My Binge List

StrongBlackLead / Netflix

Netflix has seriously upped its streaming game in the past few months. While 2020 rages on with all of its drama and chaos and heartache, at least Netflix is giving us all some much-needed distraction and entertainment.

The streaming giant already has a fairly large library of amazing Black content for us to binge to our heart’s content, but they’ve just outdone themselves with a brand new slate of some of the best classic Black sitcoms ever made.

With a tweet from the streaming giant’s Twitter account @StrongBlackLead, it was announced that seven hit Black shows from the ’90s and 2000s are hitting Netflix throughout August, September, and October.

Netflix will be adding seven hit Black shows to their lineup and the Internet just can’t handle the news.

Yup, you read that right. Shows we used to watch on networks like UPN, the WB, and BET like Sister, Sister, The GameGirlfriends, and The Parkers will all now be available in once place. Finally. And as if this news wasn’t already enough, Netflix’s @StrongBlackLead also premiered a video celebrating the big announcement with literally all of our favorites: Cue Tracee Ellis Ross, Essence Atkins, Jackée Harry, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Tia and Tamera Mowry, and more making us cry with their collective greatness.

Of course, fans could not handle it, and within minutes of the big announcement Moesha and Girlfriends was trending on Twitter.

“Netflix is finally streaming MoeshaThe GameSister SisterGirlfriends and The Parkers starting from next month. seems like the second half of 2020 won’t be bad after all,” wrote one user.

Here’s a roundup of what we have to look forward to in the next couple of months:

Moesha

Brandy (yes, that Brandy!) playing a high-school student in LA facing very real issues including friend with teen pregnancies, racism, trouble at home – this show had it all and it honestly helped me grow and mature as a kid.

Moesha ran for six seasons on UPN (which IMO was one of the most underrated networks!) and went on to become the biggest success for the relatively new network. Bernie Mack and Usher were frequently recurring guest stars on the show and you never knew who else might back a guest appearance.

Sister, Sister

Tia and Tamera Mowry are identical twin sisters who just happen to reunite in a chance enounter. That’s the opening premise of this next-level show, Sister, Sister. But it’s so much more than that. Everyone from the Olsen twins to RuPaul and Tyrese made guest appearances on this show and I lived for every moment.

In January 2018, a revival of Sister, Sister was confirmed and is currently in the works but as of 2020 it is currently unknown when or if the revival will happen.

Girlfriends

One of the longest-running Black-led TV series, Girlfriends was on the CW for a full eight seasons and won numerous awards. Comprised of an ensemble cast led by Tracee Ellis Ross the show featured major talent in guest appearances including Big Boi, Common, Kelly Rowland, Idris Elba, and Erykah Badu.

The Parkers

A hilarious spin-off from the equally hilarious Moesha, this show had it all! Another show on UPN, The Parkers ran for five seasons and had some big name talent in the likes of Mo’Nique and Countness Vaughn.

And for all you Angelenos, the show is largely centered around Santa Monica College which so many of us went to.

Half & Half

Set in San Francisco, Half & Half aired on the UPN for four seasons and follows the lives of two half-sisters who were completely separated for most of their lives but then come back together. Michelle Williams and Essence Atkins were two of the major stars on the show which went on to be nominated for several awards in each of it’s four seasons.

One on One

One of the hit shows from the UPN network, One on One was on the air for five seasons and took place in Baltimore (and LA in the final season). Everyone from Lil Zane to Chris Brown, Eve, Solange Knowles, Lil Kim, Smokey Robinson, and Lisa Leslie made an appearance on this show – it was fire!

And that theme song, ‘Living One on One’, ughh so good!

Since the murder of George Floyd and the widespread Black Lives Matter movement, Netflix has added a new addition to its platform called “Black Lives Matter.” The new platform is home to all the movies about Black communities, celebrities’ topics, etc. with movies like Moonlight and documentaries like Becoming. Hopefully, with the release of these popular Black sitcoms, more may be added to Netflix like MartinLiving Single, and Fresh Prince.

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George Floyd Begs Police Not To Shoot Him In Recently Leaked Body-Cam Footage

Things That Matter

George Floyd Begs Police Not To Shoot Him In Recently Leaked Body-Cam Footage

Karem Yucel / Getty Images

It’s been more than two months since the tragic death of George Floyd. Since his death, the country has been struggling on how to cope with yet another senseless loss of a Black man at the hands of police officers. Massive protests have taken place in nearly every corner of the country – or globe for that matter.

Yet, two months after his death we continue to learn new heartbreaking details about the circumstances of his last moments. Newly released body-cam footage, obtained by the Daily Mail show in greater detail the moments leading up to the now infamous video of Officer Chauvin’s knee pressed into George Floyd’s neck. In the leaked footage, we see officers approach a man who was no threat with their guns drawn. We see a panicked Floyd beg officers not to shoot him.

New body-cam footage offers amother perspective into Floyd’s arrest and death.

Newly released, partial footage obtained by the Daily Mail from the body cameras worn by two of the now-former Minneapolis police officers involved in the arrest and death of George Floyd, show a panicked man begging for mercy. The footage reveals in greater detail the events surrounding the horrific arrest that led to Floyd’s death.

The eight-minute video starts with the officers approaching Floyd as he sat in his car, and ordering him to put up his hands. Floyd appears nervous and is immediately apologetic, but doesn’t initially follow their instructions to show his hands. In response, Lane pulls out his handgun and aims it at Floyd. Floyd complies, putting his hands on the wheel and tells the officer he’s sorry and asks what he’s done wrong.

Later in the video, following a struggle in the back of a police car, Officer Thomas Lane can be heard asking Officer Derek Chauvin whether Floyd should be rolled on his side. Floyd died May 25 while in custody, and the incident — which was also recorded on cell phone video — set off protests that soon went worldwide. The demonstrations over his killing and the deaths of other African Americans at the hands of police prompted intense discussions on racism in America.

The footage includes officer Thomas Lane, who at one point aims a gun at Floyd’s face – Floyd begs him not to shoot.

Credit: Karem Yucel / Getty Images

In the video, footage shows police first approach Floyd’s car and asks him to put his hands on the steering wheel. Floyd doesn’t comply with the officer’s demands until Officer Lane draws his gun.

Floyd begs the officer not to shoot, “Please don’t shoot me Mr. Officer,” Floyd says. Lane then gets Floyd to come out of the car and puts him in handcuffs. Officer Kueng can be heard telling Floyd “stop resisting.” 

Lane then begins interviewing a man and woman who were with Floyd in the car. “Why is he getting all squirrely and not showing us his hands?” Lane asks the two. “Because he’s been shot before,” a woman, who identifies herself as Floyd’s ex, tells the officer. 

“He’s a good guy,” the male passenger adds. 

The video then cuts to the two officers leading Floyd to their SUV. As they try to get him to sit in the back of the car, Floyd appears to grow desperate.

Floyd’s family has issued a statement about the newly released footage.

Credit: Dawn Shawnee / Getty Images

Ben Crump, an attorney for the Floyd family, issued a statement to CNN in response to the video’s release:

“The police officers approached him with guns drawn, simply because he was a Black man. As this video shows, he never posed any threat. The officers’ contradictions continue to build. If not for the videos, the world might never have known about the wrongs committed against George Floyd.”

All four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest were fired from the department the following day, and have all been charged in connection to his death. 

Chauvin faces charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, while the three other officers were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

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