Police Critics Secure Some Gains In 11th Day Of Racial Justice Protests

Elise Foley
Protesters gather at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where a 35-year-old inmate, Jamel Floyd, died in custody Wednesday after guards pepper-sprayed him in his cell. (Christopher Mathias/HuffPost)

For the 11th straight day, thousands gathered in cities across the nation to protest racism and police brutality, sparked by the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis. 

In Brooklyn, New York, a large crowd of protesters gathered outside a federal jail where a Black man with the same last name ― 35-year-old inmate Jamel Floyd ― died in custody on Wednesday after guards pepper-sprayed him in his cell. Demonstrators held signs that read “Don’t be shy! Defund the police!” and “Justice for Jamel.” 

“Free them all,” they chanted as inmates could be heard cheering and banging on cell windows.

“He was supposed to be protected here,” an emotional Donna Mays, Jamel Floyd’s mother, said at the rally. “He got killed and murdered and Maced.”

He had recently been moved to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn after serving 13 years in prison, and he was slated to be released in three months, Mays said. 

“I need change and I need it today,” she said. “I’m going to become an advocate and walk in these marches. This is important. I didn’t know that I had this support behind me.”  

The protests have continued despite assaults from police, numerous arrests and a war-like presence of law enforcement and military. The ultimate goals ― such as defunding police forces or major criminal justice reform ― are still far away. But on Friday, there were signs that the protests are breaking through, though some gains were merely temporary. 

In California on Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) called for new police standards, including legislation to ban holds that put pressure on the neck that can render subjects unconscious. Officials in multiple cities said they’ll adopt...

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