Community leaders discuss impact of the murder of George Floyd one year later

Some say there is still work that needs to be done

ROANOKE, Va. – The murder of George Floyd sparked a year’s worth of conversations regarding police reform in the United States.

Here at home, local leaders say there’s still work to be done to prevent police brutality.

“That was a very tragic event,” Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea said.

For Lea, seeing peaceful protests following the murder of Floyd opened the conversation up for how the city can move forward.

“Those were the tough times across the country, but again, I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen being done in our city, the police and our citizens work together,” Lea said.

Now, most localities are looking toward the state and federal government to come up with solutions toward criminal justice reform.

“I think what we really need to do at a minimum, and then there’s more we need to do is get to yes on a police reform bill,” Senator Tim Kaine said.

Kaine says it’s going to take both sides of the aisle working together to make progress in Congress.

“We owe it to folks who suffered at the hands of police misconduct to get to a good reform bill that will be good not only for communities but also for police, the overwhelming majority of them were doing a hard job and trying to do the very best they can,” Kaine said.

Community policing has been something Danville Chief Scott Booth was incorporating before Floyd’s murder.

“From my perspective as a police chief here, I believe that we really were able to kind of move things out of this tragedy,” Danville Police Chief Scott Booth said.

The department was able to create new training for its officers following Floyd’s murder.

Booth says he and his officers will never stop working to make sure both citizens and police officers can stay safe.

“We can’t double down on either side so the police can’t just circle the wagons and say that we’re always right. We don’t need to change or whatever and then the community I think has to allow a constructive dialogue that occur, so we all can get better,” Booth said.

Kaine would like to make provisions to the reform bill allowing the findings of police misconduct cases public and limiting the use of tear gas by police officers.

About the Author

Annie Schroeder joined the 10 News team as a reporter in June 2020 and is no stranger to Southwest Virginia.

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