In cities across the nation, wary residents are preparing for violent demonstrations surrounding the election.
Businesses in Washington, D.C., New York City, Boston, Portland, Chicago, San Francisco, St. Louis, and many other cities have begun to board up windows and entrances with plywood ahead of the expected violence.
Still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and street protests over the police killing of George Floyd, exhausted cities around the nation are facing yet another challenge: a surge in shootings that has left dozens dead, including young children.
The spike defies easy explanation, experts say, pointing to the toxic mix of issues facing America in 2020: an unemployment rate not seen in a generation, a pandemic that has killed more than 130,000 people, stay-at-home orders, rising anger over police brutality, intense stress, even the weather.
Annoyed that Senate Democrats are blocking a police reform bill, President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the 20 U.S. cities with the highest crime rates are all run by Democrats.
“The Senate Republicans want very much to pass a bill on police reform,” Trump said during a Rose Garden press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda. “I would like to see it happen. We won’t sacrifice. We won’t do that. We won’t do anything that is going to hurt our police.”
Every major city—and probably every community for that matter—has some form of a police commission. Police commissions are entrusted to monitor the activities of the police department as a whole, and in most cases determine appropriate discipline for individual officers who break the public trust. These commissions have existed for decades. Most major cities also have some form of an office or department for civil rights or civil liberties or human rights. Police review boards are often housed within those offices, as in Minneapolis.
So let’s talk about Minneapolis, where a police officer who was identified for nearly 20 years as a problem had 18 complaints since 2001. Officer Chauvin faced multiple complaints and formal reviews for his actions but he was left on the street, with a badge, harassing people of all races, and ultimately killing a black man.