ATLANTA — It wasn’t long after video of George Floyd dying at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin got out before people across the country began calling for change.
Demonstrations, protests, riots and more led to discussions about police reform and race relations.
More than two years later, Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston is looking into how things have changed in metro Atlanta. Some say there is still a long way to go.
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In the weeks and months after Floyd’s death, many companies began trying to correct systemic racism by creating diversity, equity and inclusion offices. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Johnson and Johnson and Atlanta-based Coca-Cola are among the companies creating departments designed to encourage diversity from top to bottom.
Dr. Bernice King, the president and CEO of The King Center, says that’s not enough.
“We show up for the big crisis in the moment, and when the crisis kind of settles itself, we kind of go back into our own little silos,” she said.
She told Huddleston it’s a good thing that companies are talking more about diversity and inclusion, but change starts at the top.
“You can look right now at corporate America. Just start at the board level before George Floyd and now. You’ll know if we’ve made progress,” Dr. King said.
Gerald Griggs, the president of the Georgia NAACP, says it’s important to remember that Floyd’s death was about police brutality.
“When we talk about the reckoning that happened after George Floyd, a lot of it was just talk,” Griggs said.
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Many police departments, including the Atlanta Police Department, announced they have made changes on how they make arrests and interact with communities of color.
“We understand that trust is broken and strained by acts that have been done by American law enforcement,” Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said last November.
Chief Schierbaum says they have retrained their officers on how to make arrests, as well as held meetings in Black and brown neighborhoods to rebuild that trust. He also says he is looking to hire from those communities.
“First of all, we’re recruiting from those exact same neighborhoods,” he said.
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Vincent Truitt’s family will tell you that nothing has changed, though. Their 17-year-old son was the passenger in a stolen car being chased two months after Floyd’s death. When Truitt hopped out and ran away, a Cobb County officer shot him twice in the back.
“I wouldn’t want my worst enemy to go through this,” Vincent’s father, Andrae Truitt, said.
“Words can’t really explain the pain and suffering I endure every day of my life,” his mother, Venethia Cook, said.
The officer involved in Truitt’s death has not been charged.
The non-profit group Mapping Police Violence reports that more than 1,000 people were killed by law enforcement in 2022.
After George Floyd’s death, U.S. lawmakers promised police improvements with The George Floyd Justice and Policing Act, but it stalled in Congress and never made it to the president’s desk.
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