Milwaukee leaders reflect on changes in year since George Floyd murder

NOW: Milwaukee leaders reflect on changes in year since George Floyd murder

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- In the year since George Floyd was killed, activists across the country demanded changes to policing.

In Milwaukee, protesters took to the streets and local leaders worked with the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission to make reforms.

“You really saw an awakening of folks in this community who’ve taken to the streets,” said Milwaukee Common Council President Cavalier Johnson.

On Tuesday the common council unanimously passed a resolution to support federal police reform called the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

“It’s unfortunate we even have to commemorate this day but there are small things we can each be doing,” said Ald. Milele Coggs, who sponsored the legislation. “As legislators one of the things is just to support the federal move to attempt to standardize some of the police training.”

After Floyd’s death, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission did pass several reforms including a ban on chokeholds with no exceptions and any time an officer points their weapon, they must file a report.

“I think those are steps in the right direction,” said Fred Royal, the first vice president of the NAACP Milwaukee.

But leaders say there is a lot more work to do.

“Unfortunate, appalling and disappointed that we’re still fighting this fight in 2021,” Royal said. “These are the same discussions Frederick Douglas had with Abraham Lincoln, that African Americans should have equal protection under the law.”

Royal says next, he wants the fire and police commission to clearly define use of force.

“What is appropriate use of force and what is excessive use of force, that’s some language we have promoted to the fire and police commission and hopefully that will come forth in the next month,” Royal said.

City leaders add they want these changes to be on a larger scale.

“There needs to be statewide protections for all people in terms of policing,” Ald. Johnson said.

Royal says he believes the acting Milwaukee police chief, Jeffrey Norman, will continue to make these reforms, but he’s concerned about how the ongoing legal battle with the former police chief could impact those efforts.

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