Story at a glance
- The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) began working on the report following the police killing of George Floyd.
- The recommendations include banning chokeholds unless deadly force is necessary, bias training and better information collection on police stops, searches and arrests.
- The mayors rejected calls to “defund the police” and said instead cities should fund both traditional law enforcement and social service programs.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) has released recommendations for how officials across the country can improve policing and promote equal justice months after the death of George Floyd ignited widespread protests against police brutality and racial inequality.
The bipartisan organization representing the mayors of 1,400 U.S. cities released a report Thursday recommending the banning of chokeholds unless deadly force is necessary, requiring officers to wear body cameras and better data collection on police stops, searches and arrests. The group also recommends bias training, minimizing aggressive responses to protests and building better relationships in the communities they serve, among others.
The USCM formed a Working Group on Police Reform and Racial Justice to develop sustainable recommendations to reform policing following the police killing of Floyd, who died on Memorial Day after now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd pleaded that he couldn’t breathe.
“As we hear the cries for racial justice across the country, we must address the critical need to reimagine public safety,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D), the chair of the working group, said. “The principles and recommendations in this report are not a simple one-size-fits-all approach but instead represent a roadmap to guide everything we as mayors do going forward on the road to reform.”
Floyd’s death sparked widespread backlash against law enforcement and kicked off the “defund the police” movement, with protesters calling for funding to law enforcement to be cut and redirected to social programs.
The mayors rejected calls to “defund the police” and said instead cities should fund both traditional law enforcement and social service programs.
“The phrase ‘defund the police’ means different things to different people, but actual defunding is not the path to better public safety and enhanced public trust,” the report said.
Cities including New York, Los Angeles and Seattle have recently taken action to reduce funding for their departments following Floyd’s death and subsequent protests.
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best announced this week she’s stepping down from her position after the city council approved cuts to the department’s budget.