George Floyd (copy)

George Floyd's sister, Bridgett Floyd, addresses a rally in downtown Minneapolis on Sunday. At left is attorney Ben Crump. At right is the Rev. Al Sharpton. “It has been a long year. It has been a painful year,” Floyd's sister Bridgett told the crowd on Sunday. [JEFF WHEELER/MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE]

MINNEAPOLIS — Parents and siblings of Black men killed by police urged people during a discussion in the city where George Floyd was killed a year ago to join them in pursuing legal changes they say can make similar deaths less likely in the future.

The panel, convened Monday in Minneapolis and organized by the George Floyd Memorial Foundation founded by Floyd's sister Bridgett and moderated by prominent Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson, was part of a series of events marking the one-year anniversary today of Floyd's death.

Family members of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Daunte Wright and other Black men slain by police gathered for a discussion about the state of policing in the U.S. and racial inequities in the frequency of fatal encounters with law enforcement.

The families also discussed the role of lawmakers in making changes to hold police accountable and how community members can support the loved ones of those killed by police.

"You don't have to actually lose a child in order for you to have that passion," said Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin. "We need allies, we need people to support us and lift us up when we've fallen down and when you all have fallen down we need to lift you all up."

Gwen Carr, Garner's mother, described her meetings and conversations with lawmakers over six years to get legislation passed that bans the use of chokeholds, among other measures, after an officer used the technique in the death of her son. In one instance, Carr and other mothers in New York brought makeshift coffins to the state Capitol in 2015 after failed attempts to meet with Gov. Andrew Cuomo in person.

"I don't believe in writing letters. I don't believe in phone calls. I do like to get right up in their face. ... I tell them what my demands are — not my asks, but my demands," she said.

Several states moved to prohibit or severely limit the use of chokeholds and neck restraints after Floyd's death last year. At least 17 states, including Minnesota, have enacted legislation to ban or restrict the practice, according to data provided to The Associated Press by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The families also discussed the rarity of convictions in cases of Black men killed by police and whether convictions alone amount to substantial accountability. Allisa Findley, whose brother Botham Jean was killed in his own home in September 2018 by ex-Dallas officer Amber Guyger, said the families, activists and citizens need to "keep applying pressure" despite the conviction of Derek Chauvin — who was convicted of murder and manslaughter last month — for Floyd's death to prevent similar killings in the future.

"I don't look at a conviction as justice. The conviction is accountability and what should happen," she said. "The fact that we celebrate the few convictions is sad. A conviction should be mandatory if you commit murder so I think there's still a lot of work left to be done."

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Mohamed Ibrahim is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

(3) comments

joseph walker

This is such a false narrative. The number of black men killed, unjustifiably, by police is miniscule. Less than one a month and yes one is too many but the real problem is black males are killing black males in near record numbers. There will be more innocent black males killed in the coming weekend in Chicago than are killed by police in the next year. Yet you hear nothing about that. Where are the protest marches, the celebrities crying foul, the politicians with their fake outrage. Until some organizations look in the mirror and face the facts and not the planned talking points then nothing will change.

JERRY MITCHELL

[thumbup]

Sam Cat

If it shines a negative light on the "black narrative" you will never hear about it in the Liberal controlled media.

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