A Nation on the Brink
How the Killing of George Floyd by Police Sparked Nationwide Protests and Calls for Systematic Change
“If one of us is not free, none of us are free.”
– Max Mills and Ayesha Muzaffar, Co-Chairs, Students Against Mass Incarceration, University of California, Davis School of Law
The fires are burning, yet the oppressors continue to double-down. With riots in the streets of our capitals, the police and National Guard charge their armaments, preparing to quell the masses.
In cities across the country, protestors have flooded to the streets to protest the senseless murder of George Floyd, yet another unarmed Black person killed by police.
In recent years, America has experienced a string of such murders. It is with a heavy heart their names have become branded into the psyche of a generation: Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Jamar Clark, Alton Sterling, Freddie Gray, and the list goes on ad nauseum.
The fires burn in California, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts, Georgia, New Mexico, Texas, Rhode Island, and many other states, including the District of Columbia. Curfews have been imposed in at least 40 cities in 19 states nationwide. One would be right to ponder if we are on the brink of martial law.
Even with communities’ increasing willingness to protest – and even demonstrate on an increasingly visible and assertive basis – the killings continue. The trajectory of increasing violence and unrest begs the questions: At what point will law enforcement revise their thinking and practices, and how many cities must burn before police forces realize they are a part of their communities, not simply separate and distinct totalitarian authorities?
The Spark That Ignited the Powder Keg: George Floyd’s Murder
On May 25, 2020, at 8:08 p.m., a Minneapolis, Minnesota, store clerk called 911, reporting a customer had allegedly bought a pack of cigarettes using a counterfeit $20 bill. Police officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng responded to the call.
Upon arrival, the officers located the suspect sitting in a blue SUV and closed in. Lane approached the driver’s side while Kueng approached the passenger’s side door. Lane ordered the driver, George Floyd, to exit the vehicle.
While speaking with Floyd, Lane brandished his firearm at Floyd before reholstering it when Floyd placed his hands on the steering wheel. After about 90 seconds of speaking with Floyd, Lane pulled Floyd out of the car, handcuffed him, and placed him against a nearby wall. The time was 8:12 p.m.
At 8:14 p.m., six minutes into the arrest, Lane and Kueng escorted Floyd to their squad car. Prior to entering the police cruiser, Floyd “stiffened up” and fell to the ground, advising officers he was claustrophobic. As this was occurring, at 8:17 p.m., officers Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao arrived on the scene in a separate cruiser. All four officers — according to the complaint subsequently filed against Chauvin — “made several attempts to get Mr. Floyd into the backseat of squad [car] 320 from the driver’s side.” During this altercation, Floyd repeatedly told the officers “he could not breathe.”
After Floyd was already in the police car, Chauvin pulled Floyd out the passenger side of the cruiser, with Floyd falling, handcuffed, face down. The time was 8:19 p.m.
While Officer Kueng held Floyd’s back, Lane restrained Floyd’s legs, and Chauvin placed his left knee “in the area of Mr. Floyd’s head and neck,” according to the criminal complaint. As Chauvin continued to bear down on Floyd’s neck, Floyd repeatedly asserted, “I can’t breathe” and called out for his mother.
At another point during the altercation, one officer can be heard on bystander video asking Floyd, “What do you want?” Floyd responded, “I can’t breathe. Please, the knee on my neck. I can’t breathe.” One officer then told Floyd, “Well, get up and get in the car, man.” Floyd responded, “I will.” The same officer directed again, “Get up, get in the car.” Floyd replied, “I can’t move.” All the while, Chauvin, Kueng, and Lane continued to restrain Floyd.
While Floyd continued to plead with the officers that he couldn’t breathe, one officer on bystander video can be heard responding, “You are talking fine.” At one point, Lane asked Chauvin if they should “roll him on his side?” Chauvin responded, “No.”
When Lane exclaimed that he was “worried about excited delirium or whatever,” Chauvin retorted, “That’s why we have him on his stomach.”
During the altercation, Floyd told officers he couldn’t breathe 16 times. At no point did the officers heed his pleas for help.
Even as Floyd lay pinned to the ground, bystanders can be heard on cellphone video yelling at the police, “You having fun?”
At 8:22 p.m., one of the officers called for an ambulance. In dispatch recordings, the officer can first be heard calling for a “Code 2” (an ambulance request requiring no lights or sirens) due to Floyd bleeding from the mouth. By 8:23 p.m., the officers upgraded the call to a “Code 3” (an ambulance request requiring both lights and sirens).
By 8:24:24 p.m., Floyd was no longer moving. At 8:25:31 p.m., he was no longer breathing or speaking. Again, Lane asked Chauvin, “[W]ant to roll him on his side?” This time Chauvin conceded and checked for a pulse, stating to his fellow officers, “I couldn’t find one.”
By this point, bystanders started yelling, “Look at him,” “What is wrong with y’all?,” and “Get off him now!” This was the point at which Chauvin pulled out his canister of mace, directing the bystanders to disburse. At this time, Thao can be seen shoving a bystander in the chest, telling him to leave. And then, perhaps the most chilling, a female voice in the cellphone video can be heard exclaiming, “Did they fucking kill him, bro?” At this point in the video, several bystanders demand that officers “check his pulse,” explaining to the officers that Floyd wasn’t moving.
The three officers continued to pin Floyd to the ground, with Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck, never rendering medical assistance. The officers only released Floyd when the ambulance arrived, and an EMT directed them to cease. The time was 8:27:24 p.m.
After loading Floyd onto a gurney, the ambulance drove him away to another location. It was at this time the fire department was called for additional medical assistance. The fire department arrived on scene at 8:32 p.m. It took firefighters another five minutes to reach the location where the ambulance had stopped to treat Floyd. The ambulance then took Floyd to the Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 9:25 p.m.
In total, Officer Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, a full two minutes and 53 seconds after Floyd was unresponsive.
Dueling Autopsy Findings
Floyd underwent two autopsies: one by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner and a second commissioned by his family.
Dr. Andrew M. Baker, the Hennepin County Medical examiner, released an autopsy report detailing the circumstances and causes of death. He made the following preliminary findings, as detailed in the criminal complaint against Officer Chauvin:
“The autopsy revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation. Mr. Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.”
Dr. Baker’s final autopsy report stated that Floyd died from “Cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.” It detailed blunt-force injuries to Floyd’s forehead, face, upper lip, shoulders, hands, elbows, and legs.
The report also mentioned presumptive positives for fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cannabinoids. It highlighted that additional tests would be required to confirm these presumptive positive findings but that signs of fentanyl toxicity can include “[s]evere respiratory depression” and seizures.
In a subsequent press release, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office classified the cause of death as “Cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression” (i.e., a heart attack) and the manner of death as a homicide. The press release explains that Floyd “experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s)” and noted the other significant conditions as “[a]rteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease; fentanyl intoxication; recent methamphetamine use.”
The private autopsy was performed by Drs. Michael Baden and Allecia Wilson. Dr. Baden, the University of Michigan Medical School director of autopsy and forensic sciences, is the former chief medical examiner of New York City and had previously been retained to conduct independent autopsies on Eric Garner and Michael Brown. The independent autopsy findings, while not yet released, were detailed during a news conference.
“The compressive pressure of the neck and back are not seen at autopsy because the pressure has been released by the time the body comes to the medical examiner’s office,” said Dr. Baden. “It can only be seen – serious compressive pressure on the neck and back can only be seen while the pressure is being applied or when, as in this instance, it is captured on video.”
In stark contrast to the county medical examiner’s opinion, Dr. Baden explained, “The cause of death, in my opinion, is asphyxia due to compression of the neck.” His autopsy also concluded that Floyd was healthy and had no evidence of heart disease. He also said that toxicology reports had not yet returned.
Benjamin Crump, the attorney representing the Floyd family, explained that the private autopsy report found that the officers’ actions restricted the blood flow to Floyd’s brain and that the pressure exerted from the officers’ knees on Floyd’s back made it impossible for him to breathe.
Officers Fired, Criminally Charged
The day following Floyd’s killing (May 26), all four officers were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department. The next day (May 27), Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called for Chauvin to face criminal charges. The following day (May 28), local officials announced they had launched an investigation into Floyd’s death.
On May 29, Chauvin was arrested by local authorities and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter with culpable negligence. The same day, the U.S. Department of Justice announced its own investigation into Floyd’s death. On June 3, Chauvin was charged with the additional crime of unintentional second-degree murder while in the commission of a felony.
Also on June 3, former officers Kueng, Lane, and Thao were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder while committing a felony and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter with culpable negligence.
“[Y]ou have to have premeditation and deliberation to charge first-degree murder,” explained Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. “Second-degree murder, you have to intend for death to be the result. For second-degree felony murder, you have to intend the felony and then death be the result – without necessarily having it be the intent.”
“We would contend that George Floyd was assaulted, so that would be the underlying felony,” Ellison said.
Second-degree murder in Minneapolis carries a maximum penalty of up to 40 years in prison. Third-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. Charges of aiding and abetting carry the same criminal penalties.
While not directly relevant to the underlying criminal conduct, both Chauvin and Thao have previously been the subject of numerous complaints.
Chauvin, an 18-year police veteran, has been the subject of 18 complaints filed with internal affairs and been involved in three police shootings, one of which resulted in a fatality. Two of the 18 complaints were “closed with discipline,” meaning he received a letter of reprimand in each case for his conduct. Also unrelated to the pending criminal charges, Chauvin’s wife, Kellie Chauvin, filed for divorce the day after his arrest.
Thao has been the subject of six complaints filed with internal affairs, including a 2017 lawsuit over excessive force in which Thao settled with the victim for $25,000. While one of the six complaints remains under investigation, the remaining five were closed without discipline.
“A Riot is the Language of the Unheard” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In the wake of Floyd’s death, protests and riots have erupted nationwide, resulting in curfews from Charleston, South Carolina, to San Francisco, California.
Over 17,000 National Guard troops had been deployed to 23 states to support local police in containing the violence. By June 4, the Associated Press reported that over 10,000 people had been arrested.
What follows is a sampling of both peaceful and violent protests across the country. It should be highlighted that most demonstrations have been peaceful. Violence and looting primarily have occurred during the evening and have not been perpetrated by the vast majority of demonstrators.
Minneapolis, the site of Floyd’s killing, has seen both peaceful protests and violent uprisings.
The peaceful protests have called for accountability and justice. Thousands can be seen in broadcast video engaging in demonstrations, sit-ins, and community gatherings. Media reports indicate that on June 2 as many as 10,000 people peacefully protested outside the State Capitol. Flanked by police and National Guard troops, the protest was calm.
On May 29, in response to sometimes violent demonstrations, the city imposed a curfew from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Those in public places in violation of the curfew are subject to arrest, fines, and jail time.
On the night of May 30, the situation turned violent. Shortly after the 8:00 p.m. curfew, police dressed in riot gear and holding shields started making arrests. They also employed drastic use of force, shooting tear gas canisters and other non-lethal projectiles into crowds. Following protesters setting a car on fire, the National Guard “used a helicopter to dump water” on the burning vehicle, according to the New York Times. Between Friday night and Sunday morning, both law enforcement and protesters were injured, including three protester deaths.
In one particularly vivid protest, hundreds of demonstrators gathered near the Fifth Precinct as the curfew approached. Protesters can be heard on video chanting, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” Police responded to the crowd with tear gas and firing nonlethal projectiles.
Thousands of protesters flooded into the streets of New York City to protest Floyd’s killing. As of June 5, protests had occurred daily for more than a week.
On June 1, New York City imposed a mandatory curfew, requiring the streets to be clear from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. On June 2, following the looting and destruction of the iconic Macy’s store, and Nike and AT&T stores, the curfew was expanded to 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Protesters also burned police vehicles and, in one instance, attacked a New York City police officer caught alone. A group of men was recorded “smashing him with pieces of wreckage until he pulled his gun and they ran,” according to the Associated Press.
In imposing the broader curfew, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio explained, “We can’t let violence undermine the message of this moment.”
While there have been numerous instances of property destruction, arson, violence, and looting, New York City has also seen large, peaceful protests. For example, on June 3, thousands gathered in Washington Square Park and made their way up the West Side. In a showing of solidarity, protest leaders “gave speeches, and organized groups handed out water, snacks, masks, gloves and even sanitary kits for people in case they were arrested,” according to CBS.
For the most part, media reports indicate that law enforcement has taken a hands-off approach during the day when peaceful protests occur. Still, the situation can change drastically in the evening when protesters defy city-mandated curfews.
In one instance, on June 1, as protesters in Brooklyn approached the 77th police precinct, a capture from a police scanner recorded a cop saying, “Shoot those motherfuckers.” Another cop responded, “run them over.” Then, almost immediately, another transmission: “Don’t say that over the air.”
New York cops, when confronted by protesters, have ripped off protesters’ masks to pepper-spray them. In a particularly grisly May 31 incident, two NYPD vehicles are seen going from a complete stop to ramming into protesters who had been throwing objects at the vehicles. Almost in spite of the calls for police accountability, some NYPD cops have been observed covering their badge numbers, so protesters can’t identify them.
According to the Associated Press, as of June 3, 790 arrests have been made in New York. These numbers jumped on June 4, with over 250 additional protesters arrested while defying the curfew.
Georgia has also seen demonstrations. Peaceful protests tend to occur during the day, while the evenings have seen sporadic instances of rioting.
On Wednesday, June 3, Atlanta officials imposed a Thursday curfew from 9:00 p.m. to sunrise, and a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday curfew from 8:00 p.m. until sunrise. Those in public places after the curfew are subject to arrest, fines, and imprisonment.
On June 4, the same day Floyd’s funeral was held in Minneapolis, over a thousand peaceful demonstrators marched in Atlanta. Starting at the King Center, the demonstrators marched two-and-a-half miles throughout the city to the state capital, sharing the messages of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and showing solidarity with other peaceful demonstrations.
“We wanted to come together and do something as an organized unit in spite of the riots and the burning of buildings,” explained Anthony Armondis, a march attendant.
Atlanta City Councilman Antonio Brown agreed, explaining, “We stood together and we marched 2.5 miles, and we honored Martin Luther King, Jr. along the way. This is what peaceful protesting is about.”
But in a marked exception to the mostly peaceful protests, a riot broke out on the evening of May 29 when a largely peaceful protest turned violent. The protesters smashed the windows of the CNN Center in Atlanta and spray-painted the large red CNN sign. A police car was set on fire, and demonstrators could be seen hurling objects into the lobby at a phalanx of Atlanta SWAT officers deployed to protect the news agency.
At one point, protesters hurled what was described as a “flash-bang device” into the crowd of SWAT members, resulting in clouds of smoke in the lobby. Police responded by firing tear gas canisters into the crowd, dispersing it.
In response to this disturbance and others, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency. He also activated 500 members of the National Guard.
According to a statement released by Atlanta Police Sergeant John Chafee, “There have been multiple instances of shots being fired in close proximity to our officers and shots were fired at an officer in a patrol vehicle on Peachtree Road at Lenox Road. We continue our efforts at restoring peace in our city.”
Demonstrations have occurred in communities across California.
On May 25, California Governor Gavin Newson declared a state of emergency for Los Angeles County and deployed National Guard troops to the location in response to clashes between police and protesters. Various curfews were also imposed in numerous cities across the state.
On June 1, on the day of Floyd’s memorial, approximately 2,000 people rallied in the North Park area of San Diego. The march began in the afternoon in downtown San Diego and proceeded to Balboa Park. News reports indicate that many protesters were younger individuals.
“I’m here because of course I support the end of police brutality. I support defunding the police,” said Rashanna Lee, one of the protest’s organizers. “And I think defunding the police is a fundamental step to re-enriching the communities because we can redirect those funds to San Diego.”
At the end of the protest, organizers asked the crowd to leave peacefully.
“[I]t’s been generally peaceful,” said San Diego Police Department Sergeant Cory Mapston. “There haven’t been any mass arrests or significant incidents.”
In direct contrast to the above example, on June 4, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore defended his decision to request National Guard support, citing prior incidents of damage and looting. He explained that he would not “let this happen again.”
San Diego Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Tim Matzkiw clarified that the National Guard troops would only be used for “force protection” to secure public buildings and not to aid in arrests.
As seen elsewhere, riots have also broken out in various cities across the state. On May 30, protesters demonstrated outside the Sacramento County Main Jail. Following protesters smashing the glass doors, police first used batons to push the protesters back and then fired tear gas into the crowd.
In another protest the same evening, police fired rubber bullets at protesters in response to demonstrators throwing rocks, glass bottles, and eggs at the cops, as reported by the Sacramento Bee. One protester was struck in the face by one of these non-lethal rounds. He was seen in a video being taken away with blood pouring from his face.
In yet another disturbance the same evening, police fired pepper balls and what appeared to be flash bang grenades into a crowd in response to protesters throwing objects at police.
In a particularly violent May 30 incident, one Department of Homeland Security Federal Protection Service officer was killed, and another injured when shots were fired from a vehicle. The officers had been assigned to protect the federal courthouse in Oakland.
Governor Newsom quickly issued a statement cautioning, “No one should rush to conflate this heinous act with the protests last night.” The suspects have not been found.
Demonstrations have also been held in over a dozen foreign countries in response to Floyd’s killing. In London, protesters defied officials and marched to the U.S. embassy. In Germany, demonstrators rallied in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. In Paris, marchers took a knee in response to the killing, while others held signs reading, “I can’t breathe” and “We are all George Floyd.”
Protests were also held in Denmark, Italy, Syria, Brazil, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, Poland, and Australia, according to CNN.
Police Assault on the Free Press
One particularly alarming development concerns law enforcement’s attacks on members of the news media. While sometimes these appear to be deliberate, in others the attacks result from the indiscriminate use of force on protesters.
In New Jersey, Asbury Park Press reporter Gustavo Martinez Contreras was arrested while documenting protesters. Delaware News Journal reporter Jeff Neiburg and video strategist Jenna Miller were detained while covering protests in Philadelphia. And in Minnesota, CNN reporter Omar Jimenez was arrested during a live national broadcast. These are only a few of the reported cases of reporters being arrested or detained.
In Iowa, Des Moines Register reporter Andrea Sahouri was arrested by police. When she identified herself as a member of the press, a cop sprayed her in the face with pepper spray.
In Michigan, Detroit Free Press reporters Brandon Hunter and JC Reindl were taken to the hospital following police use of chemical agents. Hunter had been tear-gassed by police, while Reindl was pepper-sprayed even after presenting his press credentials.
In another case, reporters covering a peaceful protest near the White House were caught in the line of fire. Federal agents deployed tear gas and flash-bang grenades to clear the peaceful protest. Neither peaceful protester nor reporter was spared.
Police have also physically attacked reporters (as opposed to using flash-bang grenades and chemical agents). In New York, Wall Street Journal reporter Tyler Blint-Welsh was struck several times in the face with a riot shield wielded by NYPD cops. In Minneapolis, MSNBC journalist Ali Velshi was struck in the leg by a rubber bullet fired by “[s]tate police supported by National guard[.]” This, too, was reported as a peaceful protest.
One of the worst attacks on the press to date is the case of Linda Trado, a freelance reporter covering the protest in Minneapolis. A law enforcement-discharged rubber bullet struck her in the left eye, leaving her “permanently blinded.”
These instances and others show the true extent of police’s indiscriminate use of excessive force. The telling aspect is that due to the victims being members of the press, the stories were told. This raises the question of how many protesters are being assaulted by police’s physical and chemical weapons, yet the stories aren’t being reported.
It’s Time to Rethink the Structure of Institutions: Calls for Racial and Social Justice
As the fires have continued to burn, calls for action have reached a fever pitch. While racial overtones are clearly prevalent, and justifiably so, this must be seen as an American issue – an issue affecting all oppressed peoples.
It’s been well documented that police and prison officials have a sordid history of both implicit and explicit bias against minorities, and more broadly, the economically disenfranchised.
“It’s important for journalists to understand first and foremost that George Floyd is not an anomaly but rather the everyday lived reality of black people in the U.S.,” explains Rachel Hardeman, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota.
Thema Bryant-Davis, Associate Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine University, agrees.
“I see protests as a cry, a scream, a demand and a lament of generations of continued harassment, degradation and oppression. I see it as a response to the systematic violation of the human rights of black people, through government, educational, financial, health and criminal justice.”
“The killing of those in police custody must stop. George Floyd’s death, along with Breonna Taylor’s and countless other deaths, must serve as a catalyst to not only our acknowledging the problem of policing, but also serve as a point in which we can start developing the solution to eventually end policing,” explains Ayesha Muzaffar, Students Against Mass Incarceration co-chair. “This must consist of more than words. Police must be held accountable through external oversight and community accountability, at a minimum. Furthermore, prosecutors must be stopped from filling our nation’s jails and prisons with little to no thought about how such policies harm our country, communities, and, ultimately, people.”
While an issue of racism and classism, it is more than this. This is not solely a Black and White issue. It is a matter of collective oppression and the institutionalized systems that have contributed to this oppression.
In the effervescent words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
While we have not yet achieved that ideal, the collective protests show the power in community and people.
“It is from the numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped,” wrote Robert F. Kennedy. “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
It is this collective oppression and harm that must be challenged at its very core. And as we have seen throughout our nation’s history, it is the bright, young minds, the true believers, who will stay in the course and fight the good fight.
“SAMI condemns the brutal acts of state violence disproportionally inflicted against communities of color and the indigent,” explains Max Mills, SAMI co-chair. “As an organization dedicated to ending mass incarceration, we are also dedicated to ending the terror perpetrated by the police. Just as we advocate for the abolition of prisons, we advocate for the abolition of police…. We do this to pursue our collective liberation.”
These are bold thoughts, but they point to a stark reality: over the last 30 years, American law enforcement and corrections have become a militarized, oppressive regime focused not on public safety and the prosperity of our nation but authority and control.
And while we may not yet be at the point where we can dismantle these systems of oppression and strife, the fires that burn in our hearts and cities act as a beacon to the change that is coming.
About the Author: Christopher Zoukis, author of the Directory of Federal Prisons, Federal Prison Handbook, Prison Education Guide, and College for Convicts, is the Managing Director of the Zoukis Consulting Group, a federal prison consultancy specializing in federal prison matters. He is currently a student at the University of California, Davis School of Law. He can be found online at www.prisonerresource.com.
Sources: NPR.org, StarTribune.com, USAToday.com, TheHill.com, CNN.com, Time.com, WashingtonPost.com, Vox.com, News.Yahoo.com, JournalistResource.org, Hrw.org, NYTimes.com, TheGuardian.com, HuffPo.com, Vice.com, Slate.com, LawAndCrime.com, Reason.com, Alternet.org, BusinessInsider.com, NewYork.CBSLocal.com, TheIntercept.com, Minnesota.CBSLocal.com, USNews.com, 11Alive.com, AJC.com, TheDailyBeast.com, KPBS.org, SacBee.com, LATimes.com
Additional Sources: Interview with Max Mills and Ayesha Muzaffar, Students Against Mass Incarceration Co-Chairs, University of California, Davis School of Law