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Protest group discusses reforms with Detroit officials

June 9, 2020 GMT

DETROIT (AP) — A group protesting police brutality and the death of George Floyd has presented reforms to Detroit’s mayor and police chief that include defunding the city’s police department.

The group’s list of 23 demands were discussed Tuesday without reaching any deals with city officials, an organizer with the newly formed Detroit Will Breathe said.

Nakia Wallace, 23, also told The Detroit News that “there are no future plans for next steps.”

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Duggan deferred questions about the meeting to the protest group, the newspaper reported.

The death of Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis sparked international protests and has drawn new attention to the treatment of African Americans in the U.S. by police and the criminal justice system.

Floyd died after an officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after the handcuffed black man pleaded for air and stopped moving. Four Minneapolis officers are charged in connection with Floyd’s death.

Protest organizers and groups in other cities across the U.S. also are demanding that officials defund police departments.

The Detroit group also lists demilitarizing Detroit’s police department and ending its use of facial recognition software as top priorities.

It also wants the city to drop charges against protesters who have been arrested since demonstrations in Detroit started nearly two weeks ago. It wants police officers involved in incidents of brutality fired and prosecuted.

The list also includes putting a stop to eviction orders and water service shutoffs.

Wallace and her uncle, Tristan Taylor, are leaders of the Detroit protest group. Taylor was arrested last week during a protest and released the next day.

From May 29 through Sunday, 421 adults and three juveniles were arrested in Detroit during the protests. Only 136 lived in the city, Police Chief James Craig said Monday.

Both Craig and Duggan have credited city residents and activists with backing police officers to prevent damage and theft.