June 20, 2020 / 3:15 AM / 16 days ago

Factbox: What changes are governments making in response to U.S. racial justice protests?

OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) - Protests over the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody have prompted government and police officials across the United States to enact changes aimed at showing demonstrators that their concerns about police brutality and racism are being heard.

A demonstrator sits at the self-proclaimed Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone in Seattle, June 15. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

Here are some of those actions.

‘DEFUND THE POLICE’

With protesters rallying to “defund the police,” lawmakers in cities including Baltimore, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Portland, Oregon, approved reducing police department budgets, ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars in smaller cities to slicing $150 million from the Los Angeles police department’s $3 billion annual budget.

The Minneapolis city council voted to start figuring out how to replace the police department with a community-led safety model.

OFFICERS CHARGED

Prosecutors charged former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin with second-degree murder after a video showed him pinning Floyd’s neck to the street for over eight minutes. Three other former officers were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

An Atlanta police officer was charged with murder for shooting to death Rayshard Brooks.

Officers in Buffalo, New York, and New York City have been charged with assault for shoving people during demonstrations.

MONUMENTS COME DOWN

Dozens of statues, monuments and buildings honoring U.S. historical leaders who carried out policies viewed as racist have been removed or renamed.

Kentucky took down a statue of Jefferson Davis, a leader in the Confederate movement, a largely southern campaign which defended slavery. Several universities and towns in the South renamed buildings and roadways honoring the Confederacy. The U.S. Marine Corps banned public displays of the Confederate flag at its facilities.

Boston and Camden, New Jersey, removed statues of Christopher Columbus, who enslaved people while colonizing America for Spain.

CHANGING POLICE TACTICS

Albuquerque and San Francisco said unarmed civilian workers will start responding to some non-violent emergency calls instead of police.

California’s governor ordered the state’s police training program to stop teaching neck holds, as law enforcement agencies across the state said they would ban them and related maneuvers over concerns they can be deadly.

Memphis police introduced a policy warning officers would face consequences if they do not try to stop colleagues engaged in misconduct.

Other governments approved laws or policies for apprehending suspects to reduce the risk of deadly encounters. Austin, Texas, said police cannot shoot at fleeing suspects unless they pose an imminent threat. Louisville, Kentucky, banned “no-knock” warrants, which are used to forcibly enter homes.

Kansas City, Missouri’s mayor committed to having an outside agency review every local police shooting.

Seattle’s police chief banned covering badge numbers, which help the public identify officers. Police said they cover badges with black tape to mourn the death of officers.

Portland, Seattle and Austin have curbed the use of tear gas on protesters.

SCHOOLS CUT TIES

School administrators in several cities have canceled security services contracts with police departments after years of complaints that officers target students of color and worsen safety. They included Minneapolis; Portland, Oregon; Denver; East Lansing, Michigan; and Eugene, Oregon.

NEW LAWS ARRIVE

New laws in New York make police disciplinary files public records and criminalize false 911 calls based on someone’s race.

Lawmakers for the District of Columbia made it easier to hold officers accountable for misconduct.

Colorado lawmakers mandated officers wear cameras and rejected the “qualified immunity” doctrine that has shielded officers from legal liability even they are found to violate civil rights.

President Donald Trump issued an order encouraging police departments to adopt non-lethal tactics and improve information sharing so officers with poor records cannot easily move elsewhere.

Democrats in the U.S. Congress proposed legislation to ban neck holds, require federal officers to wear body cameras, and increase independent oversight over departments.

Republicans in the Senate called for using federal grants to discourage neckholds and no-knock warrants and encourage body cameras.

Other lawmakers said they plan to back a separate bill that would remove qualified immunity protection for officers nationwide.

Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Aurora Ellis and Leslie Adler

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