George Floyd protests test America’s mayors

CityLab Daily

Finding the right words: As protests continue to intensify in cities across the U.S., the national uprising over the police killing of George Floyd is testing America's mayors. On social media and in televised briefings, city leaders have been trying to manage a complex and fast-changing crisis, appealing for calm as heavily armed police and National Guard soldiers unleash tear gas and rubber bullets on demonstrators, and businesses are burned and looted by elements whose origins and motives are not yet fully understood. All the while, the invisible threat of a still-active pandemic rages on. (Not to mention, today is Election Day in many places, including the nation's capital.)

Since the protests began, mayors have been doing a lot of talking, empathizing with an alarmed and frustrated public while also justifying their decisions to use increasingly harsh tactics. "I know many people are feeling scared and unsettled, but I make no apologies that I'm always going to make the tough but necessary choice if it means protecting the people," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. In Atlanta, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms took the tone of a concerned but tired mother as she urged residents to stay home. Still others have offered a range of responses, from anger and despair to hope and resolve, as an unprecedented convergence of urban crises unfolds. Today in CityLab: What Mayors Are Saying About the George Floyd Protests

-Linda Poon

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What We're Reading

  • The deep roots of Louisville's rage over the police killing of Breonna Taylor (Huffington Post)
  • Five years after Freddie Gray, peacekeepers like Kwame Rose helped quell protest violence in Baltimore (Baltimore Sun)
  • Police are killing fewer people in big cities, but more in suburban and rural America (FiveThirtyEight)
  • "An abuse of sacred symbols": Trump, a Bible, and a sanctuary (New Yorker)


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