Killings by Police Declined after Black Lives Matter Protests
This is according to data shared by Scientific American
Since Black Lives Matter protests gained national prominence following the 2014 police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., the movement has spread to hundreds of cities and towns across the U.S. Now a new study shows police homicides have significantly decreased in most cities where such protests occurred.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) began when Oakland, Calif.–based activist Alicia Garza posted a message of protest on Facebook after George Zimmerman, a neighborhood-watch volunteer who followed and fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., was acquitted of murder in 2013. Patrisse Cullors, another Oakland community organizer, began sharing Garza’s message on social media, along with the hashtag #blacklivesmatter. The slogan soon spread, building into a largely leaderless movement against structural racism and police violence. Last year, spurred by a Minneapolis police officer’s killing of George Floyd, millions of people demonstrated in hundreds of BLM protests throughout the U.S.
“Black Lives Matter represents a trend that goes beyond the decentralization that existed within the Civil Rights Movement,” said Aldon Morris, a sociologist at Northwestern University, who was not involved in the new study. “The question becomes, ‘Are Black Lives Matter protests having any real effect in terms of generating change?’ The data show very clearly that where you had Black Lives Matter protests, killing of people by the police decreased. It’s inescapable from this study that protest matters—that it can generate change.”
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