MINNEAPOLIS — The outcome of Derek Chauvin’s murder trial in the Hennepin County courthouse remains to be seen.
But what is happening in statehouses nationwide is clear.
The death of George Floyd is having unprecedented national impact.
A KARE 11 investigation finds more than 100 reform laws have been passed involving policing and police accountability. Many others are still pending.
In St. Paul, state Rep. Athena Hollins has introduced language to a jail reform bill that would ban prone restraint in Minnesota jails and prisons.
“Adds the term prone restraint – which is restraining someone, so they’re face down – to the list of prohibited uses of force,” she explained.
Prone deaths common
Last year, a KARE 11 investigation into prone restraint deaths across the country found people dying in police custody and behind bars – face down with officers on their backs – in very similar ways to Floyd.
Our investigation found, in the past decade, there have been at least 113 prone restraint deaths. There are likely many more.
“This is frankly a hot topic following the George Floyd killing,” Rep. Hollins said. “We’ve known for years that prone restraint is dangerous.”
Known for years. But, like many other policing issues in America, it is being looked at with fresh eyes after the video of Floyd’s death went viral worldwide.
“It’s unique, it’s transformative, it’s certainly unprecedented,” said Amber Widgery, a researcher and policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. That organization tracks bills being considered at statehouses across the country.
She says since Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, 111 new policing reform laws have passed. Roughly 1,600 others are still pending.
They focus on accountability, transparency, and changes to policy on police use of force.
Nearly 50 bills and resolutions directly bear the name George Floyd.
“That’s really indicative and notable of the impact that his death is having on the work that legislatures are doing across the nation,” Widgery said.
Dying breaths on a Minneapolis street are already resulting in life-saving winds of change across a nation.