THE NEUTRAL ZONE
In the wake of nationwide protests against police brutality, many are now calling for police departments to be defunded or significantly downsized. This action follows widespread concerns about militaristic riot police and viral videos of excessive uses of force on protestors.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is proposing a $250 million budget cut for the city, $100-$150 million of which would come directly out of funds for the LAPD. Garcetti says the funding is aimed at benefiting the black community, adding that he believes racial justice is worth sacrifice. The Los Angeles Police Protective League issued a statement following Garcetti’s announcement, alleging that they found out about the cuts via Twitter and describing the move as “offensive.” Police union vice president Jerretta Sandoz argued the measure was a political spectacle, accusing city officials of praising officers in private and then denouncing them in front of the public.
Numerous school programs and universities are also cutting ties with law enforcement in the wake of the police brutality protests. The Minneapolis Public School Board recently drafted a resolution to sever their relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police. The University of Minnesota will also be re-evaluating its overall relationship with MPD, with one of those adjustments being an end to using local police for security during college football games.
President Donald Trump recently called for an increase in police funding via Twitter, decrying the notion of defunding police departments. The city of Philadelphia department is adding $14 million to its police budget while simultaneously cutting funding for other city services. This move has been criticized by some Philadelphia residents who believe the decision will effectively hold police less accountable while removing important city programs. Philadelphia Black Lives Matter organizer Devren Washington argued against the budget allocation, stating, “We know that the city will basically try to arrest its way out of its major problems.”
The revised Philadelphia fiscal 2021 budget submitted to City Council/ Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer/ Chart: JOHN DUCHNESKIE / Staff Artist Source: Mayor’s Office
LA Mayor Slashes LAPD Budget As Calls To ‘Defund Police’ Slowly Pick Up Steam – Forbes – 6/3/20 Despite using the “defund police phrase,” most activists don’t want to reduce appropriations to police departments to zero dollars, which is impractical. Instead, supporters of the movement hope to reduce the responsibilities we ask of police and redirect funds to other social programs.
LAPD Chief Pushes Back Over City’s “Ambitious” $150M Budget Cuts For Police; Funds Intended For Communities Of Color – Deadline – 6/4/20 In that context, Moore’s words over the LAPD’s $1.8 billion budget today reflect another heave in the tug-of-war of the civil bottom line, as well as signal how police will react to reform through the usually generous public purse. Many of those out in the streets in cities all over America this past week have advocated defunding police departments for the violence perpetrated against communities of color.
LA Officials Push To Cut Police Budget By Up To $150M After Riots – The Daily Wire – 6/4/20 Garcetti has drifted some in his response to the riots. Soon after saying National Guard units would not be necessary, Garcetti called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to send in the National Guard on May 31 and imposed a city-wide curfew to stop the violence and restore order. The increased police presence appears to have curbed much of the violence as officers arrested hundreds of people for violating curfew, stealing, or attacking officers and others, per the Los Angeles Times. At least 60 people are now facing charges.
America needs to think more about the costs of policing – Vox – 6/4/20 “I could tell you if we did a policing policy that prevented one robbery, that saved society $90,000. I could tell you that. And that’s great; $90,000 is a lot of money,” Owens told me. “But if we were to reduce that one robbery because we stopped every single black kid with a hooded sweatshirt on, that $90,000 reduction was almost certainly not worth it. But I can’t give you a dollar value on the impact of that crazy devaluation of the lives of so many people.”
Emmanuel Felton on Twitter, 6/5/20: As school districts across the country are cutting ties with police departments in recent days, NYC activists are calling on @NYCMayor to follow suit. Instead, his budget proposal sends $332 million more to school-based cops
Bradman TV on Twitter, 6/5/20: There won’t be repercussions because there won’t be the funding to perform internal investigations. This is what defunding the police department will cause. Not what it will fix. Low budgeted police departments have been a result of systematic racism for decades
Travis McElroy on Twitter, 6/5/20: The Police mentality, training, funding and equipment has become militaristic. The problem arises from the fact that the “enemy combatant” is people walking down the street.
Anthony H. Williams on Twitter, 6/5/20: Joined by @RepMcClinton and @CouncilmemberKJ I wrote to Mayor Kenney over his proposed budget cut to the city’s Police Advisory Commission. We can’t afford to cut PAC funding and risk its ability to carry out its mission. We will ensure that PAC is fully funded next year.