George Floyd

James Corrigan/WAER News

Race relations became a top issue on the minds of many around Central New York with local protests after the killing of George Floyd and police treatment of people of color.  In WAER’s Your Election Blueprint project, it was among the top interests of people heading into the election.  

“I'm like scared of here," said Deneka Delee.  "I have to watch my back and I wish all the shooting and and all this (stuff) has to stop. We have kids.”

You don't have to listen hard to hear their voices; You don't have to look hard to see their struggle

There’s a growing movement to defund the police, after the death of George Floyd and incidences of police brutality in the nationwide protests that came in the aftermath.   New York State’s leaders say they would rather restructure the forces than cut their budgets.

Kevin Kloss/WAER

Syracuse like many other communities across the U.S. has been a scene for large, emotional and diverse protests over police treatment of people of color. On this special edition of Syracuse Speaks, WAER News Director Chris Bolt is joined by Yusuf Abdul-Qadir, Director of the Central New York Chapter of the NYCLU, Pastor Erik Eure from The Promise Land Church, and Sam Rowser, Executive Director of On Point for College.

WAER file photo

Central New York’s delegation of state lawmakers has been busy in Albany this week voting on several pieces of legislation aimed at reforming police conduct.  The final bills should clear the senate Wednesday. 

New York is one of the first to take up such measures amid protests here and nationwide calling for change after the death of George Floyd.  Most of the bills have been passed by the assembly for years, and this is the first time they’re seeing daylight in the senate.  Senator Rachel May says people of all stripes seem to be questioning police behavior.

Jim Urquhart / NPR

The untimely death of George Floyd on May 25th  has impacted communities across the country, and many have taken to the streets to protest the actions of those involved. Today starting at Noon, NPR will bring live coverage of the funeral for George Floyd. The service will be held at The Fountain of Praise in Houston.


The mass demonstrations in Syracuse and across the nation calling for changes in police conduct are exactly the kind of gatherings that health experts have warned could cause a spike in COVID-19 infections.  Chief of the Infectious disease division at SUNY Upstate Dr. Steven Thomas says protesters still run the risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19 even as the number of cases continues to diminish. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

It’s been an emotional week for the greater Syracuse community as hundreds of protesters hold daily demonstrations in response to the murder of George Floyd, and police try to accommodate their rights. 

CNY Association of Chiefs of Police

The CNY Association of Chiefs of Police issued a statement this week emphatically condemning the actions of former Minneapolis police officers.  The outpouring of emotions run higher by the day across the US and here in Central New York and the association is expressing that George Floyd’s death was "tragic and senseless." 

Scott Willis / WAER News

Mayor Ben Walsh was among a diverse group of hundreds of people wearing masks who marched through downtown Syracuse Thursday calling for state passage of about a dozen police reform bills.  The group then gathered in Forman Park for one of eight “Let us Breathe” press conferences held across the state condemning the death of George Floyd and other African Americans at the hands of police. 

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is planning to introduce the senate version of legislation that would make chokeholds and other law enforcement maneuvers that restrict oxygen or blood flow a civil rights violation.  The original House version of the Excessive Force Prevention Act was first introduced by Congressmember Hakeem Jeffries of New York following the death of Eric Garner in 2014.