George Floyd

Calls for Police Reform Continue Amid Chauvin's Guilty Verdict

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It was a quiet and peaceful night on the streets of San Francisco Tuesday, something very different from what it was like a year ago after the death of George Floyd and even different from what police prepared for after the verdict.

But as quiet as the streets may be, the work continues for activists who say comprehensive reform is what needs to happen next. 

The San Francisco Police Department prepared barricades and their officers for possible demonstrations following the verdict in Minneapolis, but it was quiet throughout the city. 

Still, activists and experts say their work is far from over and the attention now needs to shift to changes in policing.

"This is the first time that I can ever recall in this nation’s history where a police officer was convicted due primarily to the testimony of other officers," said Ladoris Cordell.

She is a retired judge of California's Superior Court and former independent police auditor for San Jose.

She believes Chauvin's conviction relied heavily on testimony from officers and the Minneapolis police chief himself, something she has not seen before.

“This is big because now people around the country, and particularly police officers, can get the message that it’s the right thing to do,” said Cordell.

Change has been the cry of protests that swept the nation following Floyd’s death. And change has happened – in the form of new laws passed at the federal level by two dozen states and more than a hundred cities. 

  • In California, among half a dozen new laws is one that requires officers be evaluated by a psychologist for potential bias.
  • Nevada now requires fellow officers “to intervene” if they witness unlawful use of force.
  • And New Mexico now requires the use of body cameras. 

“It should be clear from this trial that all officers should be wearing body cameras and they should activate them every single time they have an encounter with the public,” said Cordell. 

Activist Jon Jacobo says without more reform and the passage of legislation, what has become familiar will only continue. 

“Over the last five years we’ve been at a rally every year for a young man or woman, Latino or Black in San Francisco, it’s just far too familiar,” he said. 

“The fight isn’t over, we are still hurting, communities are still hurting,” said Jael Castro.

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