What started as local outrage in response to George Floyd’s death after an encounter with Minneapolis police officers soon spread across the country.
Despite personal risk, their voices were heard by citizens and politicians alike, as protesters sparked a protest movement unlike anything the country has seen since the 1960s.
But it could all have been for nothing.
Party politics seems to have derailed any significant reform in the short term.
Failure at the epicenter
Walz said the reform measures would be aimed at police violence, grants for rebuilding local infrastructure, accountability and transparency.
But lawmakers had little to show for their efforts. Partisan entrenchment ruled the day, as the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democrat-led House faced off on nearly two dozen police reform measures.
Despite widespread calls for reform, the special legislative session came up empty-handed.
In Minneapolis, where the city council continues to tackle police reform, the grand visions for change seem to lack detail and are far from being promulgated any time soon.
A federal failure
Minnesota lawmakers were not alone in their failure to overcome partisan politics and pass immediate and meaningful legislation.
In the House, Democrats approved their own version of the radical police reform on Thursday. The measure requires limiting qualified immunity for police officers, prohibiting racial profiling, and prohibiting strangling arrests.
Despite passage of the bill in a largely partisan vote, the Senate is not expected to consider it, and President Donald Trump is unlikely to endorse the Democratic legislation championed by Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.
‘Promotion’ over ‘compliance’
Defenders wishing to eliminate the technique took full possession of this loophole, allowing an officer to use a strangler if they fear his life is in danger.
The issue of the choke ban will remain controversial. Some police experts argue that in a deadly situation where an officer is fighting for his life, anything goes.
While Trump’s order allegedly targets officers who “abuse” his authority, the president himself has called for the use of excessive force against detainees.
Upon taking office, Trump praised the aggressive tactics of immigration officials and suggested that police should not protect the heads of handcuffed suspects who are placed in the back of a car.
‘If we don’t get it now, we never will’
Despite calls by criminal justice reform activists for immediate changes to surveillance in the United States, there are some groups that seem content to buy time.
Last Monday Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Union, told me he had not read all of the bills that were making their way through the state legislature. But he cautioned against rushing through police reforms.
In remarks that seemed deaf to Floyd’s pleas to the suffocating officer, Kroll said of efforts to accelerate police reform: “Everyone must breathe.”
While the Minneapolis police union calls for more time, criminal justice advocates say lives are still in danger with each passing day without new restrictions on officers.
Perry said that she and other families have been desperately trying to get the attention of elected leaders and have them take concrete steps to eliminate bad police. Perry said she will continue her efforts until they are successful.
When asked how long he will continue to be a public face for police reform, Perry said, “Until we get justice.” Taking advantage of this moment of unprecedented national protest against police violence, he added: “If we don’t understand it now, we will never succeed.”
CNN’s Aaron Cooper, Steve Almasy, Ray Sanchez, Clare Foran, Manu Raju, Lauren Fox, Ted Barrett and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.