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An Immune System

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Breonna Taylor (1993-2020)
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A 26-year-old Black woman killed in March 2020 by Louisville, Kentucky police officers who used a no-knock warrant to enter her home shortly after midnight, while she slept. The search warrant was granted based on information suggesting that drug packages were being delivered to Taylor’s home. An ex-boyfriend who no longer lived there was suspected of selling them. The officers did not identify themselves upon entry, and Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, believed they were intruders. Shots were fired by the police officers and Walker. Taylor was shot eight times and died as a result of her injuries. No drugs were found in the apartment.
Image: Breonna Taylor (1993-2020)
Documented permission granted by a judge to law enforcement to enter private property without informing the property owner. In the context of the podcast, a no-knock warrant was used when police entered Breonna Taylor’s home. Because the police had not identified themselves, Taylor’s boyfriend, a licensed gun owner according to Taylor’s family’s lawyers, believed that the home was being broken into by intruders; he exchanged gunfire with the police officers. This gunfight led to Taylor being shot eight times and dying from the wounds.
A Black man who was killed by Minneapolis police officers in May 2020. The officers were in the process of arresting Floyd on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill. During the arrest, Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for approximately eight minutes, during which time Floyd repeated that he was unable to breathe. Floyd’s death at the hands of the Minneapolis police led to massive protests against police brutality throughout the United States as well as in 60 other countries.
Image: George Floyd (1973-2020)
A proposal to eliminate police forces as a means to improve public safety. This proposal was among the ideas to reform policing in America that emerged from public outrage over the killing of Black people by police officers. This particular proposal does not necessarily mean that no police would exist; rather, in some formulations, it would eliminate problematic police departments and rebuild them with new officers who would implement safer, less racially-biased policing.

One path to implementation of this proposal is the idea of defunding the police. Defunding the police would reallocate some of the funds that are provided to police departments by their cities toward social services like mental health assistance, addiction treatment, and anti-homelessness programs. This alternative approach is suggested because 90% of all calls to the police in America are for assistance with non-violent encounters. By providing additional social services, advocates believed the social problems at the root of many calls to police would be reduced.
Certain school districts receive funding to cover the costs of stationing police officers in schools. While some studies show that a police presence increases the safety of students, other studies find that safety is not improved. In addition, having police in schools has increased the number of juveniles arrested; African American children have been disproportionately arrested in these schools. Some argue that school police thus play a role in the school to prison pipeline. Finally, because school funds are allocated to pay for police officers, they are not allocated for nurses or resources to support the mental health of students. In the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd in May 2020, some school districts have discontinued the practice of stationing police officers in schools. Other districts are considering their removal.