PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Tuesday marks one year since the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.
That officer, Derek Chauvin, has since been convicted of murder and manslaughter, but Floyd’s death sparked nationwide protests and calls for change.
A silent demonstration was held outside three Care New England facilities, including Women and Infants Hospital in Providence at 9:29 a.m. for nine minutes and 20 seconds, the time Floyd was pinned under Chauvin’s knee.
Later Tuesday evening, the Black Lives Matter Rhode Island Political Action Committee held an event on the steps of the State House to honor Floyd’s life. The group is calling for the repeal of law that governs discipline and punishment for officers in the Ocean State.
Elected leaders and activist groups in Rhode Island have called for an update, or full-on repeal, to the law enforcement officer’s bill of rights.
Also in the wake of Floyd’s death, two state lawmakers introduced legislation that would ban police from using chokeholds, and require body-worn cameras for officers statewide.
Since Floyd’s death, 36 states have passed some form of police reform. Civil Rights Activist Deray McKesson co-founded “Campaign Zero” a group fighting for police reform.
“I think for black people it was like déjà vu, we’ve been here before, we’ve seen it,” he said. “For a lot of other people, it was shock. People were like, ‘I can’t believe the country’s like that,’ and we’re like, ‘the country’s been like that. You just saw it on camera, right?'”
At the national level, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which includes a ban on chokeholds and no-knock warrants, was passed by the House but is now stalled in the Senate.