Society

“Defunding The Police”

Questions answered in this post:

  1. What led to the support of this movement and ideas? What was the beginning?
  2. What does defunding the police mean?
  3. What is going on in the government concerning this petition?
A BLM banner, part of protests that erupted in NYC after New York police officers killed two black men in July.
REUTERS/Darren Ornitz

The Beginning of “Defunding The Police”

As you must know by now, support for the “Black Lives Matter” movement have erupted all over the world, whether it be posts shared on social media or the protests that take heat through the roads. Although support for the lives of those being discriminated against due to the color of their skin has been an ongoing fight, it was the crucial death of George Floyd that led to the current magnitude of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. If you are not aware, George Floyd was a black man who was suffocated to death by white police officers simply for an incorrect check of $9. It was his last words of “I can’t breathe” that melted hearts and instilled the fire within peoples’ hearts of all different races to create some change. In fact, even more stories arose following George Floyd, such as that of Breonna Taylor, that truly highlighted how brutal and racist the police force had become as an institution and it was then that society decided that they needed to take away power.

People line the streets in protest for redirecting police funds
Wall Street Journal

“Defunding the Police”: What Does It Truly Mean?

Following the rallies that have erupted around the nation because of the death of George Floyd on May 25, there have been ideas and petitions started in order to cause change in this discriminatory society. Of these petitions, the one with most popularity, and controversy, is the idea of defunding this police system that has been instilled in our society for decades. Although there is still some indecisiveness upon the implications of what “defunding the police” actually means(should we place more rules on how the force works or should be get rid of it altogether?), the idea stays the same: change needs to take place in the police system.

Primarily, when one brings up the idea of “defunding the police”, they are insisting that the power that is handed to the police across the variety of different emergencies be divided into different departments. For example, the government may create a new number for health care emergencies, in parallel to “911”, so that when this so called health care emergency takes place, one may call the health care department number instead of “911”. By doing so, the power that seems to be concentrated in the division of the police will be distributed. Along the same lines, some also have the idea of simply distributing the immense magnitude of funds that the police department receives every year (nearly 20%-45%!) across many other aspects of society. These could include housing, schooling systems, or even social services.

A political cartoon straightening out misconceptions about defunding the police
Star Tribune/Sack

What Is The Government Doing?

Although the depth of the movement has caught up to those in the government, the longitude of the process to actually make change on the political range has yet to catch up. However, the major cities of the nation have immediately jumped to make change. The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, has reduced the budget targeted toward the city’s police department by nearly 150 million dollars in order to direct it towards their health and education programs. Similarly, Boston’s Mayor, Marty Walsh, has deducted 12 million dollars from the budget of their police department to distribute it towards their social services program. It is truly hopeful to see such changes already being instilled across the country through the means of such a popular movement and we are excited to see what more can be accomplished to solve this problem that has plagued our country for generations. 

Sources:

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-06-15/editorial-five-things-defund-the-police-is-not

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/15/what-it-actually-means-to-defund-the-police.html

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