As continues to be the case with COVID-19 coverage, like we have shown in roundups of coronavirus headlines from across the country, alternative outlets like DigBoston have also explored distinct local angles in reporting on protests and progress on the police reform front since George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis cop last month.
In many cases, we’ve been able to do such work because subjects like state violence and municipal waste were already in our wheelhouse. Here’s a look at some of the excellent work done by our fellow members of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN) this past week.
Arkansas Times (Arkansas)
The demonstrations are about racial equity. Some black legislators — Sen. Joyce Elliott and Rep. Vivian Flowers — tried to introduce that element into the committee conversation yesterday but were gaveled out of order by Republican Sen. Gary Stubblefield.
Austin Chronicle (Texas)
But, as numerous callers (and council members) reminded Manley, Ayala was not in a crowd – nor exhibiting any behavior that warranted being fired upon. On Friday, Manley announced another forthcoming policy change, instructing officers to not shoot “less lethal” rounds at the head or neck of a subject unless in a situation where lethal force is necessary. Currently, the policy just says that officers should “not intentionally target” the head or neck.
Chicago Reader (Illinois)
Police abolitionists find fuel in the protests As more people lose faith in the state, organizers offer alternatives
In communities with well-funded schools, food security, ample jobs, reliable transportation, and access to health care—communities where people’s needs are met—police are mostly invisible.
City Beat (Ohio)
Cincinnati Adds Third Hearing for Public to Weigh in on City Budget Due to increased interest in how this year’s budget is being divvied up — specifically the portion being spent on police
The coronavirus pandemic and its attendant economic devastation has caused a $73 million budget deficit for the city, which gets most of its revenue from local earnings taxes. The University of Cincinnati Economics Center has estimated that the city will bring in $41.5 million less in those taxes this year. Meanwhile, protests around the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis have trained a laser focus on major cities’ police budgets, and Cincinnati is no exception. The city currently spends more than 36 percent of its operating budget — $151.7 million — on police.
Cleveland Scene (Ohio)
As good ol’ boy institutions like NASCAR — and the U.S. Navy and Marines — have decided to finally ban the Confederate flag from being displayed at their events, the Ohio House of Representatives instead decided to pass House Bill 665 without amendments doing the same.
Coachella Valley Independent (California)
‘We Wanted to Create a Dialogue’: Erin Teran, Co-Organizer of Indio’s #NoMoreHashtags Protest, Says the Community Needs to Mobilize and Organize
“Originally, I think somebody put out a flier that matched ours, and it said people shouldn’t attend this vigil, because it was being organized by white people and the police,” Teran said. “It was obviously upsetting to see that. I’m actually a Latina, but I have blond hair, and I’m very fair-skinned. I felt that we were trying to say that it doesn’t matter who you are: Right now is the time to stand up and have a voice, and to say that Black Lives Matter. It’s just such a really important cause to me. I know a lot of the stories that my friends have experienced, and it’s very emotional to hear those things.
Creative Loafing (Florida)
Protesters plaster downtown Tampa with demands for mayor and police chief ‘We want change and we will not stop until we get it.’
The letters add that protesters have lost faith in the reformation of the police system; they also demand a defunding of TPD “similar to LA and Minneapolis” (Los Angeles City Council just voted to cut up $150 million from the police budget; Minneapolis is going to dismantle its police department and replace it with another model).
Ultimately, nothing was decided Wednesday. After the recess, councillor and author of the order Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler exercised his “charter right” to end discussion until the next council meeting, Monday. His co-sponsor on the order was councillor Quinton Zondervan. Both are people of color.
Erie Reader (Pennsylvania)
President Trump’s response to the killing of George Floyd and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic further accentuates the need for the United States to have a president who can unite the country with genuine compassion and empathy.
Eugene Weekly (Oregon)
Policing in a Crisis EPD talks policing practices after George Floyd’s murder, residents then see police in action at weekend protests
“Let’s teach them to be police officers,” he said.
Gambit Weekly (Louisiana)
What to know in New Orleans this week (June 16): Reassessing funding … reopening the city … and more on demonstrations
The rally started with OPPRC describing a list of eight demands, which aligned with the national organization 8ToAbolition. Those include demilitarizing communities, investing in safe housing and funding social programs aimed at preventing crime. Protest leaders, including striking sanitation workers, spoke about systemic racism, low wages and environmental problems in New Orleans and the surrounding area.
Why thousands are calling on the Spokane County Sheriff to cancel “warrior-style” training for law enforcement officers
But as protests continue around the country decrying police brutality, thousands are calling on Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich to cancel a scheduled October training with Grossman at the county’s training facility in Newman Lake.
The “Mindset Bootcamp” is set to combine multiple Grossman lessons on the psychology of killing and dealing with traumatic and dangerous situations, a form of study Grossman dubs “Killology.” A poster for the event exclaims, “‘Survival’ is minimalistic and we must train to WIN!”
“Fire Matt Kenny. Fire Matt Kenny. Fire Matt Kenny,” chanted protesters. “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now.”
Lansing City Pulse (Michigan)
Boyce, who resigned last year, said he and other black employees who dared to challenge Schor’s authority were quickly pushed aside or fired. Atkinson, who was fired for unnamed reasons this year, alleged that white staffers ignored her and that her desk was ransacked.
LEO Weekly (Kentucky)
Rethinking policing in Louisville: Will a new civilian review board be civilian enough to judge police properly?
A new civilian review board is one of the demands from Black Lives Matter Louisville and members of Breonna Taylor’s family in response to her death. Louisville police shot and killed the unarmed Taylor on March 13 while executing a no-knock search warrant.
Little Village (Iowa)
Cedar Rapids City Council will hold special meeting on Friday to discuss Black Lives Matter priorities
On Wednesday, the Cedar Rapids Civil Rights Commission voted in support of the group’s seven demands. The commission encouraged city leaders to continue working with the Advocates for Social Justice “with a sense of urgency to meet these priorities.”
Memphis Flyer (Tennessee)
Juneteenth: Leaders Explain Significance, Why It Should be Recognized TN legislator pushes to make Juneteenth state holiday
June 19th, deemed Juneteenth or Emancipation Day, marks the day in 1865 when the Union Army arrived in Texas and announced the end of the Civil War and slavery.
Orlando Weekly (Florida)
The Philadelphia protest was one of many instances in recent days in which police launched tear gas – a toxic substance that can cause lung damage – into crowds.
Pittsburgh City Paper (Pennsylvania)
Allegheny County Council considers removing email comments after receiving hundreds in response to proposed tear-gas ban
Hallam and councilor Liv Bennett (D-North side) introduced legislation banning rubber bullets, tear gas, bean-bag rounds, flashbang grenades, and plastic bullets for use by police in Allegheny County. The proposed ordinance garnered 288 public comments, 268 of which were in support.
Pittsburgh Current (Pennsylvania)
The River (New York)
The Long-Awaited Arrival of Bail Reform New York’s transformative pretrial and bail reforms go into effect in 2020. They should create a more fair, equal, and compassionate criminal justice system.
Under New York law, bail can be set in nine different forms, including bonds where no deposit has to be paid up front or where a deposit of 10 percent or less of the full amount is paid, according to Vera. But in practice, most judges only set cash bail or an insurance company bail bond—the most onerous forms, and the ones that disproportionately harm the poor and working class. Given the racial wealth gap in the US, that means that more than 60 percent of the pretrial prison population in New York is comprised of black and/or Latinx people.
Rochester City Newspaper (New York)
“We will rethink, change, and expand how government provides services to truly ensure that every family, and every child, will have access to the American dream,” Warren said.
Seven Days (Vermont)
After taking testimony for two weeks, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday divided a police reform bill into two parts in an effort to ensure the reforms in S. 219 — including assurances that police collect and report race data — can be passed by both chambers of the General Assembly by the end of this month. The committee moved provisions dealing with police use of deadly force into a separate bill, S. 119, because House members wanted more time to take up the complex measure after the August break, Sen. Dick Sears (D-Bennington) told his colleagues Friday.
Willamette Week (Oregon)
As Protests Against Police Upend Portland City Hall, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty Is In Charge Mayor Ted Wheeler is the police commissioner, and in charge of the city’s budget, but Hardesty is at the wheel.
The exchange captures an emerging dynamic at City Hall: Wheeler is the police commissioner, and in charge of the city’s budget, but Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty is at the wheel. And the two have struck an unlikely alliance: one of them a white, mild-mannered timber heir from the West Hills, and the other, a fiery black activist from the city’s outer eastside.
BONUS: Cleveland Scene
“Over 40% of this country was already low-income and poor,” says Aguilera. “And then you add this pandemic, and then you add the racial issues on top of that, and kind of a perfect storm is happening.” Members of 16 religious denominations, 14 national unions, and dozens of civil rights groups will be part of the Digital Justice Gathering. The event will be broadcast online at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday, June 20, and at 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 21.