Activists saw progress on police reforms before Floyd death

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A chain portrait of George Floyd is part of the memorial for him, Wednesday, May 27, 2020, near the site of the arrest of Floyd who died in police custody Monday night in Minneapolis after video shared online by a bystander showed a white officer kneeling on his neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn’t breathe. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

MINNEAPOLIS (Associated Press) — Activists say years of dialogue about criminal justice reforms in Minneapolis had improved the relationship between the African American community and law enforcement – before George Floyd’s death this week.

Floyd, a black man, died after a white officer pressed a knee into his neck as the handcuffed Floyd pleaded for air. His death has unleashed protests and violent clashes with law enforcement.

Advocates and leaders say it’s exposed simmering frustration and the fact that there’s much work still ahead.

The city appointed its first black chief of police nearly three years ago, after slow progress toward making the department more inclusive. But the delay in arresting and charging the officer who knelt on Floyd is fueling protests and feeding calls for systemic change.

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