Jun 12, 2020

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 529 words, a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: The real-life changes won by the protests

Demonstrators protest near the White House June 4. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

Marchers have delivered a clear message in the 19 days since George Floyd was killed — change how America's police treat black people, and do it now.

The big picture: If you look beyond the symbolic gestures and focus on the concrete actions, there's a good deal of there there, even if it's still insufficient.

Here is just a partial list of the actions underway because of the protests:

  • Tactical rule changes: Dallas and Minneapolis mandated officers intervene when a colleague is using excessive force. Seattle banned the covering of badge numbers. Minneapolis banned chokeholds. Houston banned most of them. New York made them illegal.
  • Budget cuts: Los Angeles is considering cutting its police budget by up to $150 million. NYC is considering cuts, but hasn't disclosed specific numbers.
  • Defunding: Minneapolis' city council passed a resolution today to replace its police department with a community-centric model.
  • School contracts axed: Minneapolis, Denver and Portland have moved to end the presence of police officers in local schools. Police officers have a presence in the 25 biggest school districts nationwide, per Chalkbeat.
  • No-knock warrants ban: Louisville, Kentucky — where Breonna Taylor was killed by officers who raided her home with this type of warrant — has banned the practice. 
  • Police transparency changes: New York removed a shield clause that locked down records of officers who'd been investigated for excessive force.
  • Go deeper: Axios' Orion Rummler catalogued quite a few more changes. Let us know if there are any big ones we've missed.

Between the lines: It is ridiculously hard to fire police officers in the U.S., let alone getting criminal charges to stick.

  • Chalk that up to unions, or qualified immunity, or weakness from elected officials — but it's a major roadblock to change.
  • The Minneapolis Police Department said Wednesday that it is withdrawing from negotiations with its police union. The real effect of that is to be determined.

The bottom line: This is a start, but it doesn't even come close to the level of change organizers have publicly demanded. Expect the protests to be here for a long time to come.

2. Pics du jour

Photo: Lindsey Wasson/Reuters

Above: Artists fill in the letters of a Black Lives Matter mural on E. Pine Street as protesters establish what they call an autonomous zone in Seattle.

Below: A defaced sign for the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct building, which has been boarded up and abandoned except for a few officers inside.

Photo: Ted Warren/AP
3. Catch up quick
  1. A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has sent a list of questions to Zoom after it closed the accounts of several Chinese activists at Beijing's request. Go deeper.
  2. Prime Minister Boris Johnson called it "absurd and shameful" that a statue of Winston Churchill is the target of protesters, adding that Churchill "was a hero, and he fully deserves his memorial." Go deeper.
  3. Axios' Dan Primack dug into why the Treasury Department is leaning against releasing the names of small businesses that received Paycheck Protection Program loans. Go deeper.
  4. 1 tough stat: Automakers might not recover from the pandemic until after 2025. Go deeper.
4. 1 "Bachelor" first
Photo: Craig Sjodin/ABC via AP

ABC named Matt James its first black "Bachelor" for the network's long-running dating competition, AP reports.

  • James, a 28-year-old from North Carolina, was originally chosen to compete for Clare Crawley's affection on "The Bachelorette," but filming was scrapped in March due to the pandemic.
  • James founded an organization in New York City that finds creative ways to engage children from underserved areas.

Between the lines: "The Bachelor," which is expected to return in 2021, has been under pressure for years to increase its diversity.

  • A lawsuit filed in 2012 claimed the show was blocking contestants of color from starring roles. The case was dismissed on First Amendment grounds.
Mike Allen