Looking back on one year of protests in Madison following George Floyd’s murder

MADISON, Wis.– One year ago demonstrations broke out in cities across the United States after a former Minneapolis police officer murdered George Floyd.

On May 30, 2020, thousands of peaceful protesters marched throughout Madison.


After they went home, a small group of people started rioting on State Street.


Madison Police declared the situation an unlawful assembly and used tear gas to clear the area.

MPD’s 2020 accountability report shows police used OC spray 104 times and batons 56 times from May 30 to June 1 and Aug. 24 to the 25, the days after a Kenosha Police Officer shot Jacob Blake seven times.

Months later, Madison Common Council proposed and rejected banning non-lethal weapons. New police chief Shon Barnes said they’re to be used as a last resort.

Plywood replaced the windows of most State Street storefronts. Local artists made them much prettier to look at.


That weekend led to a summer of protests and a fraction of the change people wanted to see, including removing police from Madison schools, establishing a police civilian oversight board and committing to continuously improving use of force policies and training.


Protesters say substantial and long-term change still remains to be seen.