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In wake of George Floyd’s death, Minnesota governor calls for state legislature to pass police reform

Following weeks of protests over George Floyd’s death, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday said he will convene a special session of the state legislature to discuss comprehensive police reform.

“Minnesotans have raised their voice,” he said, noting many demonstrators have come to the state Capitol with calls for change. “The last three weeks have been some of the most tumultuous and painful in Minnesota’s history.”

Walz was joined by House Speaker Melissa Hortman, Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent, and members of People of Color and Indigenous Caucus, who will propose legislation.

The governor, a Democrat, said the measures will be aimed at police violence, grants for rebuilding, and accountability and transparency.

One of the proposed reforms would pair officers with a “co-responder,” a social worker who would go to mental heath crises calls and welfare checks.

Another reform would create an independent investigation unit within Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for police-involved cases. It would put the state attorney general in charge of prosecuting cases of police-involved deaths.

Another proposal would ban “the use of all restraints or holds by law enforcement that purposely restrict a person’s airways or blood flow and ends the use of warrior-style training,” the governor said.

Walz said some of the reforms are in place in other states and there is data that shows they work.

March to Minneapolis DA’s office

Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died at the hands of Minneapolis police in May.

Four Minneapolis officers were arresting Floyd on Memorial Day on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill when he repeatedly told them he couldn’t breathe and died. Floyd’s death was recorded by bystanders, and the horrifying video sparked global protests against racial injustice and police misconduct.

Floyd’s friend Stephen Jackson, a former NBA player, led a march Thursday evening to the Minneapolis District Attorney’s office to “demand convictions are made swiftly on all four officers involved” in Floyd’s death, according to a post on his Instagram from Wednesday.

Using the hashtag #IVEHADENOUGH, Jackson said he will not leave Minnesota until “justice has been served.”

Video from CNN affiliate WCCO showed hundreds of people listening to speakers outside the Hennepin County Government Center.

Jackson had called on each of the NBA’s 30 teams to send a player to join him in his march “to take a stance against police brutality and systemic racism.”

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