Tuesday marked a year after George Floyd’s death and protesters rallied in downtown L.A., remembering the Minnesota man while continuing their pleas to “defund the police.”
A year ago, protesters filled the streets of L.A. by the thousands, making their way onto freeways and clashing with law enforcement, but the scene today was one of mourning and a continual fight for structural change.
“The overall vibe was a people that recognize the challenges that have existed for decades outside of the last year but are committed to continuing that work,” Protester Carlos Cezares told L.A. Weekly. “The vibe was one of continual commitment to achieving true accountability and freedom.”
Black Lives Matter Los Angeles (BLMLA) and the People’s city Budget led the protest, starting off in Los Angeles City Hall and marching their way throughout the city.
“One year later, we continue mourning the loss of George Floyd, BLMLA said on Twitter. “This time last year, we saw the beginnings of a summer of unrest & a global activation for Black life & liberation.”
The peaceful protest and remembrance also featured a speech from actor Roger Guenveur Smith and a live performance by Grammy-award winner Aloe Blacc, who in the past has advocated for the end of qualified immunity for police officers.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore reflected on the protests that took place over the last year, telling Spectrum news 1 that situations could have been handled differently on their part. Moore said while he believed that using “less lethal” munitions helped save lives, there were exceptions.
“…some relied on less lethal too much,” Moore said. “They deployed it in instances that I, today, in retrospect look back and say, ‘No that was an error.'”
City officials in Los Angeles also spoke on George Floyd’s murder, with councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas announcing the council’s unanimous approval of his motion titled the “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act,” which he said would “increase accountability for law enforcement misconduct” and ban the use of chokeholds and no-knock warrants by police.
“We won’t experience true justice until we reform the systems that allow senseless violence against people of color—in particular Black Americans—to persist,” Thomas said. “Cities all over the country, including Los Angeles, simply must be held accountable to not just reimagine, but reinvest in a new system to promote public safety.”
Floyd’s murder sparked activism and protest across the country and the video of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin detaining Floyd for more than 8 minutes eventually led to a guilty conviction on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter.