Protesters and Activists Push to Defund the Police Amid George Floyd’s Killing

Defund Police BELatina
Photo Credit Erik McGregor/GETTY IMAGES

“The safest communities don’t have the most cops; they have the most resources,” said Durham Mayor Pro Tempore, Jillian Johnson. 

Over the past few days, activists, protestors, and politicians have been pushing for a police expense budget reform aimed to drastically decrease the law enforcement agency budgets and re-allocate the money foron housing, human services, social safety net, racial, and economic justice, employment, and healthcare, after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many more Black victims killed by police officers and their excessive use of force.

“Defund the police,” are the three words Americans from coast to coast have been chanting, tweeting, and demanding. Three words that together and if taken into action, can change the future to the benefit of everyone living in the United States of America. “I think that attempts to reform the NYPD have failed — attempts to provide de-escalation training, to train officers on emergency, mental health, first aid,” New York State Senator Julia Salazar told The Appeal. “When we look at their resources, and how they’re deploying them violently and recklessly, it makes the case even stronger for reducing their budget, and then using those funds for social services [like] harm reduction, community-based public safety.” 

As reported by Refinery29, the U.S. spends over $100 billion just on policing, especially after the September 11 terror attacks, where an impressive amount of money was destined to increase the militarized police force. Officers received military-grade weapons and armored vehicles. “If police budgets bought peace, the $6 billion NYPD budget would’ve bought the most sophisticated de-escalatory operation in the world,” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) tweeted. “Clearly, it didn’t. 

Councilmember Danny Dromm also called for the NYPD to be cut significantly. “It’s become a military organization and that’s not the same as police,” said Dromm tweeting: “Do you believe this shit?” 

Money diverted away from the police can significantly benefit communities of color who are constantly overlooked and marginalized; therefore, activist Laura Escalante is encouraging the Latinx community to be part of the campaign. “It is important to bring education to our Latino community, why it is important to participate in what is happening now,” Escalante told BELatina News. “Not just for the benefit of Black people but for the benefit of all of us who are ‘minority’ here in the United States.”

“Education is key to helping stop violence and crimes, giving our communities the tools to be a contributing part of our society. In defunding the police we will be able to re-allocate these resources to the parts of our communities that are in most need, creating opportunities for everyone,” she added. “Have this be more jobs, more educational opportunities, more art programs, more community centers, and more mental health resources.”

“I think it’s important to open up to the possibility of change; our communities have suffered a lot of neglect, injustice, and violence. Hispanic/Latinx communities will also benefit from this budget reform, allowing for more chances of equal opportunities and growth within our communities. For the well being of all beings,” Escalante continued. She emphasized that communities need to stick together, demand justice, vote, and send letters to their councils, mayors, and governors. “This is an opportunity to continue to break away and to stand together against violence and injustice, demanding new ways of approaching our communities and giving the people the power to hold each other accountable in growing. This is the time to continue to hold each other and to look out for one another, by taking these necessary steps that will help change our future.”

How to Get Involved in Your City

  1. Demand city councils and mayors to reject the expansion of militarized police budgets.  
  2. Demand mayors to de-escalate police forces.
  3. Read about budget literacy or call the Independent  Budget Office to request information. 
  4. Email or call your government officials. 

Find below templates you can fill out with your name and state and send it to your government officials.

Re-allocate Egregious New York Police Budgets Towards Education, Social Services, and Dismantling Racial Inequality

Find here the email of your government official. 

Dear New York City Council Members, 

My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a resident of [BOROUGH]. Last April, NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio proposed major budget cuts for the Fiscal Year 2021, especially to education and youth programs, while refusing to slash the NYPD budget by any significant margin. 

I am emailing today to demand that you vote no on the Mayor’s FY21 proposed budget. Furthermore, I urge you ONLY to vote for a budget that includes AT LEAST $1 billion in cuts to the NYPD with equal reallocation towards social services and education programs, effective at the beginning of FY21, July 1, 2020. 

Governor Cuomo has doubled the presence of the NYPD on New York City streets. I am asking that city officials lobby the same amount of attention and effort towards finding sustainable, long-term change. 

Thank you, 

[YOUR NAME] 

[YOUR ADDRESS]

[YOUR EMAIL]

[YOUR PHONE NUMBER]

Stop Qualified Immunity

Hello,

My name is [NAME] and I live in [CITY, STATE]. I am writing to strongly urge you to support legislation to reform the Qualified Immunity doctrine. Police officers and government officials have proven time and again they are not responsible enough to be granted this much power. They abuse it and are rarely ever held accountable for their actions. Why are we protecting people who do not protect the citizens they allegedly signed up to work for? Victims are already getting infringed upon on a daily basis by police brutality and misconduct, and they can’t even seek vindication in a court of law. This goes against everything the justice system is supposed to stand for and protect. Can we count on you to help?

Thank you for your time,

[NAME]

You can also sign this petition

Justice for the Murder of Breonna Taylor 

The letter can be e-mailed to tbwine@louisvilleprosecutor.com  and robert.schroeder@louisvilleky.gov  

Hello,

My name is [insert name]. I am a resident of [State/City] and I am emailing today to demand accountability for the racist murder of Breonna Taylor.

I demand that charges be pressed against all officers involved in this heinous killing, including Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and officers Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove. They should all be fired and should be charged and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for murder.

Breonna Taylor was an ER technician, working tirelessly to help others during this global pandemic. She should be alive today. She would be alive today if it were not for the gross abuse of power and white supremacy exhibited by the Louisville Police Department. All officers involved must face consequences for this murder in order to provide her family with justice and to deter law enforcement from committing racist and brutal acts of violence against communities of color.

In addition, I demand that we provide more support for community efforts and organizations that work to prevent police brutality and violence.

Sincerely,[your name]

Send Your Representative a Letter and Demand That They Co-Sponsor a Resolution and Push for a Floor Vote

Demand action with Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Barbara Lee, and Karen Bass. This resolution condemns police brutality, racial profiling, and the use of excessive force. 

How to Speak Up and Speak Out, According to Women’s March 

  1. Write an Op-Ed to the editor of your local or regional newspaper demanding justice. 
  2. Speak out at your City Council or County Commissioners meetings.
  3. Use social media to share your thoughts and amplify Black voices.