Protests, Police, and Black Lives: Resources for Mayors

Person, facing away from the camera, holding up sign that says #BLM, behind a large crowd.

We mourn and condemn the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other black people, and we grieve the unrelenting pattern of systemic racism that has resulted in death and trauma for black communities. Cities across the country are in pain, and mayors are tasked with leading them through the crisis. On top of this, mayors must lead through a multi-faceted public health crisis – the immediate one caused by COVID-19, and the systemic one caused by racism and inequality.

In alignment with our mission, we seek to serve mayors during this time, and to support them in responding with compassion, vision, and constructive action. Below we share resources to help mayors navigate and respond over the coming weeks and beyond. This isn’t an exhaustive list – we welcome other suggestions for resources that we should amplify to our mayors across the country.


Why So Many Police Are Handling the Protests Wrong
The Marshall Project

Research has shown that when police respond by escalating force—wearing riot gear from the start, or using tear gas on protesters—it doesn’t work.

Week of Action in Defense of Black Lives
Movement for Black Lives

The Movement For Black Lives, and organizers mobilizing across the country, organized our current week of action (June 1 – 7) in defense of Black lives. We encourage city leaders to read their list of city-specific demands and engage with your local activists in their implementation.

A Strategic Resource for Mayors on Police-Involved Shootings and In-Custody Deaths
Cities United

To address police-involved shooting and in-custody deaths, this report provides action steps, systems and procedures that can help city leaders respond meaningfully to rebuild trust in their communities and achieve long-lasting positive change. Cities United is a national movement focused on eliminating the violence in American cities related to African American men and boys. They help mayors in communities across the country to assess their current situations, increase opportunities for awareness, action, advocacy, and accountability.

Additionally, our page on 21st Century Policing provides a number of helpful resources covering officer training and support, police-community relations, and public trust and transparency.

Featured photo credit: Phil Roeder.