MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Breonna Taylor’s death along with the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and others sparked protests across Memphis for weeks this summer.
Some of those protests turned into policy changes here.
“All good protests that have ever changed anything in American history were disruptive even if they were technically nonviolent, they were still disruptive to change the status quo,” said Dr. Duane Loynes, assistant professor of urban studies & Africana studies at Rhodes College.
Dr. Loynes said the calls for police reform and accountability following Breonna Taylor’s death are the same calls for justice that have been happening for years.
This summer, some of those protests led to meetings with Mayor Jim Strickland, police director Mike Rallings and clergy members.
As of June, the Memphis Police Department bans no-knock warrants. With this new policy, officers are required to knock and identify themselves before entering someone’s home.
“And even if this was not technically a no-knock warrant, I’m very glad that one of the legacies of this case if anything good can come out of it will be that we bring to rethink this terrible approach to policing and eradicate it,” said Loynes.
Other department changes include adopting the “8 can’t wait” principles and additional cultural sensitivity training.
But Dr. Loynes said the impact of this case and other police shooting deaths could be measured by what happens over the next few years in Memphis
“In 2020 we are having a serious conversation hopefully about reimagining public safety and radically transforming the way we do policing in this city. In 2021 we’re bringing in a new director to helm the Memphis Police Department and in 2022 we’re having a conversation, an election to bring in a new Shelby County district attorney,” said Loynes. “We have to understand that there are systems, policies, protocols there are logics that allow black bodies to be harmed with impunity.”
Back in June, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office reviewed its policies and procedures including no-knock warrants.
FOX13 followed up with SCSO and a spokesman said they are still reviewing these policies.
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