May 25, 2023 -MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, and the fervent protests that erupted around the world, looked to many observers like the catalyst needed for a nationwide reckoning on racism in policing.
For more than nine minutes, a white officer pressed his knee to the neck of Floyd, a Black man, who gasped, “I can’t breathe,” echoing Eric Garner’s last words in 2014. Video footage of Floyd’s May 25, 2020, murder was so agonizing to watch that demands for change came from across the country.
But in the midst of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, economic uncertainty and a divisive U.S. presidential election, 2020 ended without the kind of major police reforms that many hoped, and others feared, would come. Then, 2021 and 2022 also failed to yield much progress.
Now, three years since Floyd’s murder, proponents of federal actions — such as banning chokeholds and changing the so-called qualified immunity protections for law enforcement — still await meaningful signs of change. The beating death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis police officers in early January underscored just how long it could take.