After two weeks of largely peaceful protests in response to the murder of George Floyd, it is becoming clearer that the Black Lives Matter movement is upending the way many white Americans view policing in this country.
On Monday, CNN released a poll showing that 84 percent of respondents—including 88 percent of white respondents—viewed the peaceful protests as justified.* In contrast, 67 percent of respondents overall and 67 percent of white respondents answered the question similarly during a 2016 Black Lives Matter protest. Also on Monday, conservative-leaning polling outlet Rasmussen released numbers showing that “belief that blacks are treated unfairly by police and that police discrimination is a bigger issue than inner city crime have jumped to new highs.” As Politico’s Tim Alberta noted on Sunday, there has been an enormous jump in the number of poll respondents—and particularly white poll respondents—who believe that black people are more likely to be victims of excessive police force in this country, from 33 percent overall and 26 percent among white respondents in 2014 to 57 percent overall and 49 percent among white Americans in a survey taken last week.
“In my 35 years of polling, I’ve never seen opinion shift this fast or deeply,” wrote conservative pollster Frank Luntz in response to the numbers. “We are a different country today than just 30 days ago.”
The outrage in the streets is not just leading to shifting public opinions. It’s also producing tangible results. While the goals of protesters calling for widespread defunding of police departments across the country have obviously not been entirely met, it’s worth discussing some of what the protests have already achieved. Here is a brief list of some of the reforms that have resulted directly or in part from the protests.
A federal appeals court on Tuesday invoked the recent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in denying legal immunity to five cops in West Virginia who were sued for shooting a Black man 22 times while he lay motionless on the ground.
Judge Henry Floyd of the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit wrote on behalf of a unanimous three-judge panel that to dismiss the case against officers who shot and killed Wayne Jones in 2013 "would signal absolute immunity for fear-based use of deadly force, which we cannot accept."
Mayor Bill de Blasio has ignited a new feud with President Trump by ordering the words “Black Lives Matter”
to be painted in large yellow letters on the street outside of Trump Tower.
The words are expected to be painted in the coming week on Fifth Avenue, between 56th and 57th Streets,
according to the city.
“The president is a disgrace to the values we cherish in New York City,” Julia Arredondo,
a spokeswoman for Mr. de Blasio, said in a statement on Thursday. “He can’t run or deny
the reality we are facing, and any time he wants to set foot in the place he claims is his
hometown, he should be reminded Black Lives Matter."