More than 3,000 Chicagoans were charged with criminal violations related to the George Floyd protests. Floyd was killed on camera when officer Daniel Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The ensuing protests gripped the nation for the next month before quieting down in late June.
During these protests, skirmishes between police and protesters were common. While many of the protests remained peaceful, some included serious rioting and at least one Minneapolis police station was burned to the ground.
Charges Qualifying for Dismissal
Kim Foxx announced that of the 3,000 arrests made, most charges will be dismissed. This includes any protester who was arrested for a non-violent criminal act such as unlawful assembly, curfew violations, disorderly conduct, or trespassing on government property. Even those accused of violent offenses will have the charges dismissed unless there is police bodycam video of the incident to corroborate the claim or a police officer is named as the complainant of a charge.
Those charged with violent crimes or property crimes can still be charged if there is bodycam video or the victim of the crime was a police officer. These include charges such as assault and battery.
The Police Unions vs the Public
In the aftermath of the Daniel Chauvin case, the public was treated to the spectacle of police unions all across the country lobbying to prevent their officers from being held to the same standard as the rest of the general public. Many activists have actively called for the “defunding” of police and Minneapolis has already disbanded its police force.
Activists say that police are improperly trained to handle many situations for which they are called. Some of the worst abuses have come from calls to 911 that were initially mental health calls. In other cases, activists say that we should be using that money to train and employ tactical social workers and provide support to much-needed infrastructure to handle poverty, mental health crises, and other social problems that do not require police interference.
Police, on the other hand, have seen their budgets slashed all over the country. Philadelphia has taken $14 million from the police budget and diverted it to other programs. This included the cancelation of a $19 million budget increase that was supposed to be passed this session. But some believe that the move was more about the optics and less about bringing about any real change.
Now, the entire situation hangs in an uneasy detente between the public and police officers. While some places are committing to their law enforcement officers, others are heeding the cries of the protesters and making much-needed changes to the criminal justice system. Hopefully, this results in an overall reduction to the number of civilians killed and injured by police.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are among the protesters whose charges will not be dropped by Kim Foxx’s office, call the Chicago criminal defense attorney David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 to learn more about how we can help.