Over the June 12th – 14th weekend, protests in the US continued, with reduced numbers and noticeably less violence.
Calls to defund the police haven’t subsided and many mayors are mulling the measure.
When asked about growing calls to defund police departments across the country, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that it’s important to place more investment in marginalized and underrepresented communities, especially those of color.
“The status quo has failed everyone,” she said. “We have to do better to invest in communities and we should not be investing here and there based upon race or ethnicity,” she added. “So, I agree with those that are saying much more investment has to be done in our communities.”
Mayor London Breed said in San Francisco, authorities are “going to reduce funding in the police department and redirect the money specifically to the African-American community.”
Washington mayor Muriel Bowser, said her city is used to peaceful demonstrations and will support them.
“People are coming from around the country and all over Washington DC to voice their outrage at what is happening in this country, to be heard and to demand a change,” she said.
On June 12th, Rayshard Brooks, 27, was shot dead by an officer at a Wendy’s drive-through in Atlanta, Georgia, after police moved to handcuff him for suspected driving under the influence, according to videos from the scene.
The videos show that Brooks took an officer’s Taser during the attempted arrest and then fired the Taser at the officers as he ran away.
Autopsy showed that he was shot twice in the back, and the cause of death was ruled homicide.
The killing has had rapid repercussions in Atlanta, one of many cities where protesters have called for an end to police violence and racism in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The officer who shot Brooks was fired and police chief Erika Shields resigned as exasperated protesters have called for justice.
A bodycam video showed how the situation transpired.
The shooting reignited the anger and frustration undergirding the mass protests over the past few weeks.
The Wendy’s where the shooting took place was set aflame on June 13th, and in another part of the city, a major interstate was shut down after protesters marched onto a connector and were met by lined up police vehicles.
In the UK, Black Lives Matter protests are ramping up, with violence increasing.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned “racist thuggery” after right-wing protesters clashed with anti-racist activists and police in London.
London police arrested 100 people, among thousands who traveled to the city to protest, on charges including violent disorder and assault on officers.
“Racist thuggery has no place on our streets,” Johnson tweeted. “Anyone attacking the police will be met with full force of the law. These marches & protests have been subverted by violence and breach current guidelines. Racism has no part in the UK and we must work together to make that a reality.”
While both anti-racist and rightwing protesters were on the streets, London Mayor Sadiq Khan pinned the blame for the violence squarely on the latter.
“Millions of Londoners will have been disgusted by the shameful scenes of violence, desecration and racism displayed by the right-wing extremists who gathered in our city today,” Khan tweeted.
Referring to the violence perpetrated by far-right protesters, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary David Lammy said, “The scenes were ugly and very very threatening.”
The violence in the UK appears to be entirely blamed on right-wing individuals, with the mainstream BLM protesters, evidently, have free rein.