One year anniversary of George Floyd’s death, local activists say police reform remains a challenge

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — One year ago, May 25, 2020, George Floyd died in Minneapolis after a police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.

From Minnesota to South Carolina, Floyd’s death launched protests and rallies against police brutality in Myrtle Beach, the Pee Dee, across the state and country.

Some of his last words, “I can’t breathe,” fueled street demonstrations against his killing.

Floyd’s death led to a call for police reform and accountability, such as the ones stated in the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act.

“No justice, no peace” and “say his name” became familiar chants heard on streets in cities worldwide, including Myrtle Beach.

Georgetown activist and former county councilman , Sheldon A. Butts, is a voice in Myrtle Beach and across the Grand Strand.

“Every man, woman, and child has a breaking point, and people got to that breaking point where we were sick and tired, and from being sick and tired, we decided to make our voices heard,” Butts said.

Butts and his son took a stand with others at a rally along Ocean Boulevard during the summer of 2020.

People from all walks of life joined under a common purpose, and for some, it was their first time to engage in activism.

Activists say it was also the first time they saw a movement bring out all different backgrounds of people.

“People that didn’t reflect me showed up more in numbers than myself, and we found that was what was going to be a key element in us having our voice heard,” Butts said.

Activists say they’ve seen some progress in their community, but more still needs to be done.

Butts, who is getting ready to run for reelection, said the George Floyd movement is weighing in on his overall message and long-term community goals.

“Part of my platform is we have to be able to get people to the table. We spend a lot of time figuring out why we can’t get along. We don’t spend enough time as to how do we get along,” Butts said.

In a joint address to Congress in April, President Biden asked Congress to finish police reform by the anniversary of Floyd’s death.

However, supporters are still waiting, trying to push new policies across the finish line.

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