Police Brutality

Police Brutality-Ignored for So Long, Is Finally Receiving the Attention It Deserves

About Me

My name is Ifey Onuorah (ee-fee). I am currently a senior at George Mason University and I will be graduating in December with a degree in Communication. My family is originally from Nigeria, but I was born and raised here in America so I consider myself to be Nigerian American. I chose Police Brutality because it is an important issue, especially in these recent times.

Background

African Americans and police have had an ugly, bloody, tense history since the moment black people were brought over here as slaves. That’s about 400 years of deadly interactions between the two. Slave patrols were the earliest from of police. They’re jobs were to hunt down runaway slaves and keep slaves in line as there was a fear of rebellion due to slaves outnumbering their owners. Slave patrols were designed to protect white wealth. Slaves were the property of rich plantation owners and were the key to their amassed wealth. It was imperative that if one ran away, they were to be caught. After slavery was abolished in the 1865, slave patrols were turned into police departments. Though black people were no longer slaves, law enforcement still policed them heavily as many black people still did not have any rights. Many law enforcement officials were also apart of hate groups like the KKK, which is why they were able to terrorize & murder black Americans with impunity (1 Phillimon, 2020). The 1960s civil rights era brought about protests by African Americans who had grown tired of the treatment of black Americans in this country. These protests brought in law enforcement that would break these protests up using police dogs, fire hoses, and batons. For decades law enforcement have policed marginalized communities that are mainly made up of African Americans, arresting them for mainly petty crimes, assaulting them and killing them.

Findings

Despite only making up 13% of the entire U.S. population, black people account for 28% of police killings just in 2020 alone, so far. Many studies conducted on police brutality in the United States have found that black people are the most likely to be killed by the police; 3x more likely than white people. 8 of the 100 largest city police departments kill black men at higher rates than the U.S. murder rate. Police officers are rarely punished for killing or assaulting African Americans, due in part to many police unions having strict rules regarding the firing & persecution of officers. Recent data has stated that 98.3% of killings by the police made between 2013-2020 have not resulted in the charging of the officers (2 Mapping Police Violence).

#SayHerName

Black women are often forgotten when discussing police violence. They are usually overshadowed by black males which as led to the misconception that black women do not suffer the same fate. The 2020 murder of Breonna Taylor by the police, shed light on the acts of violence many black women endure at the hands of the police. The #SayHerName campaign was created to shed light on black women who have fallen victim to police brutality (7 Blain, 2020)

Options

There are a couple of options that have been discussed in regards to combatting police brutality. One option that has been brought up is hiring more African American police officers and other people of color into law enforcement. While this may seem like a viable option, it does not do much to combat the problem. Many African Americans in law enforcement have attested to the fact that they have tried to stop the profiling and violence that is commonly committed by officers in black communities. But they are met with pushback from the department, and in some extreme cases, fired. For this reason many of them stay quiet and don’t speak up or in some cases, they actually join in the acts so as to keep their jobs and prove their allegiance to the department. There is actually a saying in the black community that states, “All skin folk, ain’t kin folk”.

Another option that has gained a lot of traction this year, is the “Defund the Police” movement. The idea behind the defunding the police is not to abolish, but to simply cut the massive budgets that many of these department s throughout the U.S. receive. The plan would be to cut the budget in half (or more) and invest it into other sectors of society. State and local governments throughout the U.S. spend as much as $100 billion a year on law enforcement. While many schools across the country have been getting their funds cut for decades.

Demilitarizing the police is another viable option. For the last couple of decades, many police departments have been receiving and using different types of military equipment and gear. Through the 1033 program (a Department of Defense initiative to get rid of unneeded, excess property), police departments all over the country have acquired a lot of military grade weapons/gear. Equipment such as: grenade launchers, bayonets, military trucks designed to take blows from explosives found in war, known as Mine-Resistant-Ambush-Protected vehicles (MRAPS). Police do not need equipment like this to serve and protect communities which is what police officers are hired to do. A study has shown that police departments that received and used military equipment committed more killings than the ones that don’t. The study showed that departments that used military equipment tended to behave in more aggressive ways than the departments that did not use them.

Demilitarizing the police goes beyond just the equipment, it is also the attitude that comes with treating police departments like they are in the military. It creates a “them vs. us” mindset, with police officers thinking that they are superior to regular citizens, and in some cases, thinking that they’re above the law (Ward, 2020). Demilitarizing the police requires several parts, but the main resolution is to get back to the culture of hiring and training cops that understand that they are public servants who are here to protect and serve their communities, not terrorize and profile them. The whole institution of policing needs to be completely overhauled and start from the ground up. Police need to be held accountable for their actions, they need to establish better relationships with the communities that they serve, and cut the 1033 program that provides the military gear (8 Ward, 2020)

Decisions

Of the options mentioned above, defunding and demilitarizing the police are the most viable options that need to be chosen and enforced. Defunding the police has been a controversial idea since it was conceived earlier this year in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder by Minneapolis police. The problem is that when people hear “defund” they think that it means “abolish”, and that is not what it means. The idea of defunding the police is essentially to cut the insane amount of money that the government spends on law enforcement every year, and invest that money into other sectors of the community. State and local governments spend about $100 billion a year on law enforcement.

Take the Los Angeles city budget for example, they have a budget of $10.5 billion, of that money, $3.14 billion of it goes to the LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department). This is a huge contrast to the $30 million that economic development services get and the $81 million that housing receives. Cutting these budgets would mean marginalized communities would receive more funding and more help. This would also help to address the social problems that these communities experience. If they could receive more money, it would mean more resources like better community centers, counselors, and outlets for the youths to take part in. Essentially, instead of investing so much in the institutions that oppress and terrorize these communities, like prisons and law enforcement, invest it into resources that will help them.

Demilitarizing police departments is another option that needs to be enforced and enacted. Treating police departments like they are military is a dangerous, and unnecessary tactic as these officers are not involved in combat and therefore do not need to be behaving as such. Police are hired to protect their communities but instead many of them abuse their power and terrorize people, specifically African Americans. Since they have access to military equipment, it amplifies their power and the injustices that they commit. Take the protests that have happened throughout this year, many police departments used unnecessary force for peaceful protests. Throughout the country many of them were seen dressed as if they were going into combat, military trucks were used, and weapons such as tear gas were also used on people that were not even resisting. They were simply protesting the injustices that citizens of this country were victims of (6 Fernandez,2020)

Actions

The main action that should be taken is to enact a law or laws that will put a cap on the amount of funding police departments across the U.S. receive. Police departments will have to develop a budget and cut out any unnecessary spending on equipment that is not needed to do their job. The money that comes from their slashed budgets will be used to help underfunded schools, neighborhoods, and other municipal departments. Many schools districts around the country, especially predominantly black school districts have seen major budget cuts in the last decade. In 2016, predominately black school districts saw $23 billion less annually in state and local funding (5 Boatwright, 2020). This drop in funding to school districts has been linked to why many predominately black school districts also tend to be high crime areas. These school districts have schools that do not have the sufficient resources to help the children that. attend these schools. Resources such as psychologists, paraprofessionals, and academic interventions. The unequal distribution of funds also has meant that many educators are working for extremely low pay. Many teachers earn less than 11 percent than those with the same amount of education. Whereas police officers’ salaries have increased by 14 percent in the last five years (Defund the Police? We’ve Been Doing That for Years).

The money from the slashed police budget can also be used for social services such as affordable housing and accessible health care. There is a huge issue in the U.S. concerning mental health, especially in the black community. Many of the calls that officers receive involve people suffering from different mental health disorders. Many officers are not trained in the de-escalating situations that involve people that suffer from mental health, and the altercations usually end in death (What would it mean to ‘defund the police’? These cities offer ideas, 2020). The budget would be repurposed to provide more funding for mental health resources for the community. So that instead of calling the police for an issue regarding someone suffering from a mental illness, they could call someone who has more understanding on how to de-escalate the situation (5 Boatwright, 2020)

Legislative History

The legislative history of the Defund the Police movement can be traced back as far as the early 1900s. Prominent members of the black community like W.E.B. DuBois called for the abolishment of the police. The abolishment of police was the first initiative proposed before it was later turned into defunding of the police. Black feminists like Amina Akbar and Alex Vitale later pushed for the defunding and the dismantling of not just police departments, but the entire criminal justice system all together (4 Hochman, 2020). In the 1960s and 70s The Black Panther Party introduced the replacement of state-operated police with community-based enforcement. This alternative was to help combat the constant harassment and violence that many police officers inflicted on the different black communities. The Black Panthers created their own enforcement that was armed, and tried to stop the abuse of power from the state sanctioned police. They essentially tried to introduce community policing, which is basically where some individuals in the community are appointed to watch over and protect the community. If any issues arise, they handle it and it leaves out any interference from the police. In recent years, there has been a greater move towards defunding the police and using the newly acquired funds towards social initiatives that help the community (4 Hochman, 2020)

Facts Sheet Post

Police brutality is defined as “the unwarranted or excessive and often illegal use of force against civilians by U.S. police officers” (3 Moore). It is an issue that has plagued many people of color for centuries if you look at the history of law enforcement in this country. Police have a history of harassing marginalized people, in the 19th and 20th centuries poor and working -class white people expressed that they had been experiencing discrimination by police. Jewish people, and European immigrants in the early 20th century also complained about the harassment endured by the police.

In the 1960s it has been documented that the police regularly harass homosexuals and transgender people. Most notably in NYC with the Stonewall riots that were a response to a police raid on a gay bar. After the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, many Muslim Americans complained about an increase in harassment and racial profiling by police all over the country. The 9/11 attacks led to questionably legal operations that had the end goal of uncovering presumed terrorist attacks. This extremely invasive operations were left unchecked for over a decade and officers performed them with impunity (3 Moore).

But the biggest group that falls victim to police brutality is African Americans. This is due to the anti-black racism among predominantly white police departments. Police brutality has been the catalyst for many riots dating all the way back to the 1960s civil rights movement. These riots would however, incite even more violence and many acts of police brutality would be committed. In the last decade there has been a rise in anti-brutality campaigns due to the shooting of unarmed black men and women by police. These campaigns have been able to go viral and catch on due to the advancement in cell phones and their recording capabilities.

References

Phillimon,W. “Not Just George Floyd: Police departments have 400-year history of racism”. USA Today, 7 June, 2020. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/06/07/black-lives-matters-police-departments-have-long-history-racism/3128167001/

Sinyangwe,S. “Mapping Police Violence”. https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/.

Moore,L. “Police Brutality in the United States”. Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Police-Brutality-in-the-United-States-2064580/Antibrutality-campaigns

Hochman,N. “The Origins of ‘Defund the Police'”. The Dispatch. 22 June, 2020. https://thedispatch.com/p/the-origins-of-defund-the-police

Boatwright,S. “Defund the Police? We’ve Been Doing That to Education for Years”. Education Week. 29 July, 2020. https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2020/07/30/defund-the-police-weve-been-doing-that.html

Fernandez,P. “Defunding the Police Will Actually Make Us Safer”. ACLU. 11 June, 2020. https://www.aclu.org/news/criminal-law-reform/defunding-the-police-will-actually-make-us-safer/

Blain,K. “A Short History of Black Women and Police Violence”. The Conversation. 2020. https://theconversation.com/a-short-history-of-black-women-and-police-violence-139937

Ward,A. “To Demilitarize The Police, We Need To Change More Than Just Their Uniforms”. Reason. 23 June, 2020. https://reason.com/2020/06/23/to-demilitarize-the-police-we-need-to-change-more-than-just-their-uniforms/

Let’s make something together.

Policy Brief

The Issue
Police brutality is an issue that has plagued many marginalized communities, specifically African American communities, for decades. It is essentially the issue of police departments throughout the United States harassing, arresting, and in many cases, killing unarmed Black people. In the last decade the movement has gained major traction due to social media and real time recordings of the incidents being shared on these platforms.
This year the unlawful murders of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, and Breonna Taylor brought on an onset of civil unrest around the country. All over America protests were held calling for the arrest and conviction of the police officers. Their killings, and thousands of others, has also furthered the “Black Lives Matter Movement” that started back in 2013 in response to the murder of teenager Trayvon Martin by vigilante George Zimmerman (Herstory).
Statistics have shown that despite the fact that African Americans make up 13% of the entire population in the U.S., black people account for 28% of police killings just in 2020 alone and 8 of the 100 largest city police departments kill black men at higher rates than the U.S. murder rate (Mapping Police Violence). Data has also shown that police officers rarely get punished for these killings/assaults, 98.3% of killings by the police made between 2013-2020 have not resulted in the charge of the officers (Mapping Police Violence).

What Can Be Done
Putting an end to police brutality is an initiative that has just recently gained traction. Though police brutality is as almost as old as the United States itself and is essentially embedded in our culture, in the last decade it has garnered mainstream attention. All this attention has produced some possible solutions, there are a couple different laws/policies that are being circulated currently in. order to combat the ongoing police brutality issues, including:
• More representation
• Defunding the police
• Demilitarizing the police

Representation
One solution that has been proposed, is more black representation in these police departments. Basically, hire more black/minority police officers. Many police departments definitely seem to have a diversity issue, according to the available national data on the ethnic makeup of many police departments, of the 701,000 full-time officers working in 2016 only 27% of them were officers of color (Cobbina, 2020).
The idea behind hiring more black officers is that it will help to promote a better relationship between the black community and the police. Historically, black people and the police in America have had an arduous, violent, and tense relationship; to say the least. While hiring more black officers sounds like a good idea, there are some caviats to it. There are studies that have shown that more minority officers did not correlate with a reduction in the killing of citizens (Cobbina, 2020). But it can be a step in the right direction if the minority officer is actually attempting to improve relations, they can better relate to people living in these marginalized communities and help to combat the violence and unrest in these communities.

Defund the police
The biggest policy that has garnered mainstream attention is defunding the police. Defunding the police is essentially a policy in which police departments throughout the U.S. would get budget cuts. It is quite different from abolishing the police, as many who oppose the policy try to argue. Defunding the police is not getting rid of the polices, it is just cutting their very high budget down so that there are more funds for other areas of the community. These extra funds would go into other community initative or the public school system. State and local governments all over the country spend as much as $100 billion a year on law enforcement in contrast to school systems that have seen major budget cuts in the last couple decades (Boatwright, 2020).

Many school systems have experienced millions of dollars in budget cuts in the last couple decades, primarily majority black school districts in inner city areas. The lack of school budgets as added to the narrative the black children are overpoliced and undereducated as they do not have the adequate resources in school to get a proper education (Burnette II, 2020). But what they have an abundance of is police officers harassing and arresting them for petty crimes. This constant harassment and arresting of young black people has also led to the school to prison pipeline that is happening all over the country.
Many cities around the country have already adopted this new policy of cutting police budgets and redirecting the money to school systems and community programs. In Rochester, N.Y. this year, the city council reduced the city’s police department budget by $3 million dollars, putting $130,000 of it into youth services (Burnett II, 2020). The idea is to put more effort and funds into initiatives that will help youths in these communities.

De-militarize the Police
Demilitarizing the police is a policy that is similar to defunding the police. In recent years many police departments have become more militarized, meaning they have had access to military equipment and even their training has had military components to it (Fernandez, 2020). Many police departments treat their officers in a manner almost identical to soldier in the military. This is unnecessary because most officers are not involved in combat and therefore do not need to be behaving as if they are. The access to unnecessary military equipment and training has added to the unnecessary force that many of them use while dealing with citizens.

Unlawful & unnecessary force was seen firsthand during the many protests that were aired on television and various social media platforms Many police departments were seen wearing military gear, riding in armored vehicles, and using military grade weapons like rubber bullets and tear gas on unarmed, mostly peaceful, protestors (Kim, 2020).
This aggressive force with the aid of military style weapons had added to the tense and violent relationship between the police and minorities. A recent study found that heaviliy militarized police departments were also the most deadly. This is because the militarization of the “police force shifts behavior toward lethal force as an acceptable response” (Kim, 2020).

Change the Narrative
Police are hired to protect and serve their communities. They are literally there to promote and protect the protection of the communities they serve, they are also paid to this. They are not there to oppress the very citizens they are hired to protect. This is why it is important to introduce and pass policies that reprimand and hold police officers accountable for their actions. Policies that offer marginalized communities the same opportunities as affluent ones. We need policies that uphold the democracy of the United States.

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Executive Summary
In the last couple years, police brutality has been at the forefront of many social justice movements. This is mainly due to the rise in popularity of social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. African Americans make up only 13% of America’s population, but account for 28% of police killings in 2020 alone (Mapping Police Violence).
There are a couple viable options that have been introduced to combat police brutality, the biggest option that has gained much traction this year is the “Defund the Police” movement. Defunding the police also includes demilitarizing the police, it has been a conversation that has been circulating for a couple years, but with all the civil unrest that has occurred this year, it has been brought into the spotlight again. Defunding the police is essentially a policy in which the law enforcement budget is cut, and the excess money that comes from this reduced budget goes into other sectors of the community (Boatwright, 2020). It is the idea that instead of investing money into the institutions that oppress and terrorize many low income (often black) communities, they put the money towards resources that will help these communities (Fernandez, 2020). This can be done by enacting laws that funnel the money back into school systems, community centers, and professionals that youth in these communities can go to for help if needed. Basically, get to the root of the issues in these marginalized communities, which is lack of opportunities and resources. Instead of funding part of the problem, they can help the problem.

Introduction
The violent and tense relations between black people and the police in America dates all the way back to slavery. Essentially it has been 400 years of deadly interactions between the two groups. Though slavery was abolished in 1865, the relationship is still the same; it has just evolved. Slave patrols became police departments and the mentality of racial discrimination and the brutalization of black people has stayed the same (Phillimon, 2020). African Americans endured the abuse/murders at the hands of the police/hate groups such as the KKK for centuries, it was not until the civil rights movement in the 1960s that African Americans began to fight back and demand to be treated as human beings. Law enforcement have policed and brutalized the African American community for decades and mainstream America is finally starting to notice.

Findings
Compared to white Americans, African Americans are 3x more likely to be killed/assaulted by the police. Even though Black Americans only make up 13% of the U.S. population, they account for 28% of police killings just in 2020 alone, so far. 8 of the 100 largest city police departments kill black men at higher rates than the U.S. murder rate. Police officers are rarely punished for killing or assaulting African Americans, due in part to many police unions having strict rules regarding the firing & persecution of officers. Recent data has stated that 98.3% of killings by the police made between 2013-2020 have not resulted in the charging of the officers (Mapping Police Violence).

Black Lives Matter
In 2013 after the murder of teenager Trayvon Martin by vigilante George Zimmerman, a social movement called “Black Lives Matter” began. Black Lives Matter was created as a response to the racism and anti-Black violence being committed against black people, specifically by the police (Britannica). The movement has brought many of the unjust police killings and brutality to light through the use of social media platforms like Twitter. Social media has played a huge role in the movement, millions of people utilize social media and the movement leveraged that by using hashtags (#BlackLivesMatter) and videos uploaded to the platforms. They also have led protests in retaliation to police brutality, the most recent one was this summer after the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer. While Black Lives Matter aims to fight the injustice of black people and make society see the value and humanity of African Americans, the movement has garnered a lot of criticism and counter movements. The biggest one being “Blue Lives Matter”.

Criticism & Counter movements
Black Lives Matter has received a lot of backlash and criticism since its inception, mostly from white conservatives. Critics believe that the movement is promoting the narrative that Black people’s lives are more valuable than other races’ lives when that is actually the complete opposite of the movement. “Blue Lives Matters” is a counter movement started in 2014 by three NYPD officers. It was in response to the murders of two NYC officers that were killed in retaliation for the murders of Eric Garner and Mike Brown, two Black men that had been killed by police earlier in the year (O’Leary, 2020). The movement is made up of mostly law enforcement both active and retired, and they advocate that those who specifically target and kill law enforcement should be sentenced under the hate crime status.
Black Lives Matter does not seek to put black people’s lives above other lives, the goal of the movement is to shed light on the injustices black people face in America, especially at the hands of law enforcement. While all lives do matter, it is specifically black lives that is the target of racism and police brutality. Essentially the “too” or “also” is implied (“Opinion: Critics of Black Lives Matter only reinforce racist attitudes”, 2020). The Blue Lives Matter counter movement is baseless because there is no such thing as “blue lives”. While police officers may be targeted by individuals seeking revenge, it is not as frequent as the murders of black people by the police. Also, police officers, specifically white officers, at the end of the day can take their uniforms off and go back to being anonymous citizens. Black people do not have that privilege, hence why Blue Lives Matters is a baseless and unnecessary counter movement (Jackson-Nudelman, 2019).

Black On Black Crime
Black-on-Black crime is another retort that many critics, mainly Conservatives, of the BLM use when discussing police brutality. They believe that the energy being used on the protests of police brutality is not the same energy that the movement uses towards the killing of black people by their fellow black people (Lynn, 2020). But that rhetoric is essentially the same as saying “you guys kill each other, so why can’t the police?”. Also, there is no such thing as Black-on-Black crime, it is simply just crime. According to a 2019 report by The Bureau of Justice Statistics, violent crimes are normally committed by those of the same race due to the fact that people of the same race tend to live in close proximity to one another (Lynn, 2020). So, the Black-on-Black crime argument is irrelevant and also racist.

SayHerName

Black women are often forgotten when discussing police violence. They are usually overshadowed by black males which has led to the misconception that black women do not suffer the same fate. The 2020 murder of Breonna Taylor by the police, shed light on the acts of violence many black women endure at the hands of the police. The #SayHerName campaign was created to shed light on black women who have fallen victim to police brutality ( Blain, 2020)

Combatting Police Brutality
There are a couple of options that have been discussed in regards to combatting police brutality. One option that has been brought up is hiring more African American police officers and other people of color into law enforcement. While this may seem like a viable option, it does not do much to combat the problem. Many African Americans in law enforcement have attested to the fact that they have tried to stop the profiling and violence that is commonly committed by officers in black communities. But they are met with pushback from the department, and in some extreme cases, fired. For this reason, many of them stay quiet and don’t speak up or in some cases, they actually join in the acts so as to keep their jobs and prove their allegiance to the department. There is actually a saying in the black community that states, “All skin folk, ain’t kin folk”.

Another option that has gained a lot of traction this year, is the “Defund the Police” movement. The idea behind the defunding the police is not to abolish, but to simply cut the massive budgets that many of these department s throughout the U.S. receive. The plan would be to cut the budget in half (or more) and invest it into other sectors of society. State and local governments throughout the U.S. spend as much as $100 billion a year on law enforcement. While many schools across the country have been getting their funds cut for decades. Demilitarizing the police is another viable option. For the last couple of decades, many police departments have been receiving and using different types of military equipment and gear. Through the 1033 program (a Department of Defense initiative to get rid of unneeded, excess property), police departments all over the country have acquired a lot of military grade weapons/gear. Equipment such as: grenade launchers, bayonets, military trucks designed to take blows from explosives found in war, known as Mine-Resistant-Ambush-Protected vehicles (MRAPS). Police do not need equipment like this to serve and protect communities which is what police officers are hired to do. A study has shown that police departments that received and used military equipment committed more killings than the ones that don’t. The study showed that departments that used military equipment tended to behave in more aggressive ways than the departments that did not use them.

Demilitarizing the police goes beyond just the equipment, it is also the attitude that comes with treating police departments like they are in the military. It creates a “them vs. us” mindset, with police officers thinking that they are superior to regular citizens, and in some cases, thinking that they’re above the law (Ward, 2020). Demilitarizing the police requires several parts, but the main resolution is to get back to the culture of hiring and training cops that understand that they are public servants who are here to protect and serve their communities, not terrorize and profile them. The whole institution of policing needs to be completely overhauled and start from the ground up. Police need to be held accountable for their actions, they need to establish better relationships with the communities that they serve, and cut the 1033 program that provides the military gear (8 Ward, 2020)

Decisions
Of the options mentioned above, defunding and demilitarizing the police are the most viable options that need to be chosen and enforced. Defunding the police has been a controversial idea since it was conceived earlier this year in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder by Minneapolis police. The problem is that when people hear “defund” they think that it means “abolish”, and that is not what it means. The idea of defunding the police is essentially to cut the insane amount of money that the government spends on law enforcement every year, and invest that money into other sectors of the community.
State and local governments spend about $100 billion a year on law enforcement.

Take the Los Angeles city budget for example, they have a budget of $10.5 billion, of that money, $3.14 billion of it goes to the LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department). This is a huge contrast to the $30 million that economic development services get and the $81 million that housing receives. Cutting these budgets would mean marginalized communities would receive more funding and more help. This would also help to address the social problems that these communities experience. If they could receive more money, it would mean more resources like better community centers, counselors, and outlets for the youths to take part in. Essentially, instead of investing so much in the institutions that oppress and terrorize these communities, like prisons and law enforcement, invest it into resources that will help them.

Demilitarizing police departments is another option that needs to be enforced and enacted. Treating police departments like they are military is a dangerous, and unnecessary tactic as these officers are not involved in combat and therefore do not need to be behaving as such. Police are hired to protect their communities but instead many of them abuse their power and terrorize people, specifically African Americans. Since they have access to military equipment, it amplifies their power and the injustices that they commit. Take the protests that have happened throughout this year, many police departments used unnecessary force for peaceful protests. Throughout the country many of them were seen dressed as if they were going into combat, military trucks were used, and weapons such as tear gas were also used on people that were not even resisting. They were simply protesting the injustices that citizens of this country were victims of ( Fernandez,2020).

Defund and Demilitarize
The “Defund the Police” movement is one of the actions that has been introduced to help combat police brutality. The idea behind the defunding the police is not to abolish, but to simply cut the massive budgets that many of these department s throughout the U.S. receive. The plan would be to cut the budget in half (or more) and invest it into other sectors of society. State and local governments throughout the U.S. spend as much as $100 billion a year on law enforcement. While many schools across the country have been getting their funds cut for decades.
Demilitarizing the police is another viable option. For the last couple of decades, many police departments have been receiving and using different types of military equipment and gear. Through the 1033 program (a Department of Defense initiative to get rid of unneeded, excess property), police departments all over the country have acquired a lot of military grade weapons/gear. Equipment such as: grenade launchers, bayonets, military trucks designed to take blows from explosives found in war, known as Mine-Resistant-Ambush-Protected vehicles (MRAPS). Police do not need equipment like this to serve and protect communities which is what police officers are hired to do. A study has shown that police departments that received and used military equipment committed more killings than the ones that don’t. The study showed that departments that used military equipment tended to behave in more aggressive ways than the departments that did not use them. Demilitarizing the police goes beyond just the equipment, it is also the attitude that comes with treating police departments like they are in the military. It creates a “them vs. us” mindset, with police officers thinking that they are superior to regular citizens, and in some cases, thinking that they’re above the law (Ward, 2020).

Demilitarizing the police requires several parts, but the main resolution is to get back to the culture of hiring and training cops that understand that they are public servants who are here to protect and serve their communities, not terrorize and profile them. The whole institution of policing needs to be completely overhauled and start from the ground up. Police need to be held accountable for their actions, they need to establish better relationships with the communities that they serve, and cut the 1033 program that provides the military gear ( Ward, 2020)

Conclusion
In order to create a better relationship between black people and the police, there are many reforms that need to be made. The police have entirely too much power and autonomy in our society, they are allowed to terrorize and kill those in marginalized communities with little to no punishment. This needs to change, no one is above the law especially not the individuals that are hired to uphold the law and protect all citizens.

References

Sinyangwe,S. “Mapping Police Violence”. https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/
Ward,A. “To Demilitarize The Police, We Need To Change More Than Just Their Uniforms”.
Reason. 23 June, 2020. https://reason.com/2020/06/23/to-demilitarize-the-police-we-need-to-change-more-than-just-their-uniforms/
Fernandez,P. “Defunding the Police Will Actually Make Us Safer”. ACLU. 11 June, 2020.
https://www.aclu.org/news/criminal-law-reform/defunding-the-police-will-actually-make-us-safer/
Ward,A. “To Demilitarize The Police, We Need To Change More Than Just Their Uniforms”.
Reason. 23 June, 2020. https://reason.com/2020/06/23/to-demilitarize-the-police-we-need-to-change-more-than-just-their-uniforms/
Blain,K. “A Short History of Black Women and Police Violence”. The Conversation. 2020.
https://theconversation.com/a-short-history-of-black-women-and-police-violence-139937
Jackson-Nudelman, K. “The Blue Lives Matter movement is more than just an attempt to
undermine Black Lives Matter”. Pipe Dream. 21 October, 2019. https://www.bupipedream.com/opinions/111226/the-blue-lives-matter-movement-is-more-than-just-an-attempt-to-undermine-black-lives-matter/
O’Leary, F. “BLM Backlash: What is Blue Lives Matter and why do some people consider it
racist?”. The U.S. Sun. 19 August, 2020. https://www.the-sun.com/news/992088/blue-lives-matter-racist-flag-blm-protests/
“Black Lives Matter: International activist movement”. Britannica. N.d.
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Black-Lives-Matter
Lynn,S. “Black-on-Black crime’: A loaded and controversial phrase often heard amid calls for
police reform”. ABC News. 1 August, 2020. https://abcnews.go.com/US/black-black-crime-loaded-controversial-phrase-heard-amid/story?id=72051613
“Opinion: Critics of Black Lives Matter only reinforce racist attitudes”. Lake Geneva Regional
News. 17 August, 2020. https://www.lakegenevanews.net/opinion/letters_to_editor/opinion-critics-of-black-lives-matter-only-reinforce-racist-attitudes/article_70994bde-ab7a-533d-8ead-121666efc81f.html
Boatwright,S. “Defund the Police? We’ve Been Doing That to Education for Years”. Education
Week. 29 July, 2020. https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2020/07/30/defund-the-police-weve-been-doing-that.html

References

Fernandez,P. “Defunding the Police Will Actually Make Us Safer”. ACLU. 11 June, 2020. https://www.aclu.org/news/criminal-law-reform/defunding-the-police-will-actually-make-us-safer/

Cobbina, J. “Is Hiring More Black Officers the Key to Reducing Police Violence?. US News. 5 February, 2020. https://www.usnews.com/news/cities/articles/2020-02-05/is-hiring-more-black-officers-the-key-to-reducing-police-violence

Kim, A. “A Simple Way to Demilitarize the Police”. Washington Monthly. 17 June, 2020. https://washingtonmonthly.com/2020/06/17/a-simple-way-to-demilitarize-the-police/

Burnette II, D. “Schools or Police: In Some Cities , a Reckoning on Spending Priorities”. Education Week. 20 November, 2020. https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2020/06/18/schools-or-police-in-some-cities-a.html

Current Events

The Defund the Police movement has received backlash from many conservatives. Since the initiative was re-introduced this year after the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, dozens of Republican representatives, including President Trump, have opposed imitative calling it “dangerous”. Democrats are torn on the issue, including President-elect Joe Biden who has publicly stated that he doesn’t necessarily agree with defunding the police. But rather, proposes that police departments be given more money to invest in training and community policing (Bates, 2020). This is problematic to many democratic voters, specifically African Americans, due to the fact that police brutality disproportionally affects African Americans.

Recently, former President Barack Obama came under fire after making disparaging comments concerning the issue of defunding the police. In an interview the former president stated, “If you believe, as I do, that we should be able to reform the criminal justice system so that it’s not biased and treats everybody fairly, I guess you can use a snappy slogan like “Defund The Police…But, you know, you lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you’re actually going to get the changes you want done” (Noor, 2020). Essentially, Obama was blaming the name of the imitative for the reason why not much has been done, calling the name “snappy”, and stating that many people became turned off when they hear it.

His comments were met with criticism and retorts from many in the Democratic and Republican parties. Representatives such as Cori Bush criticized the former president on his remarks, stating that the movement was not just a slogan but a call for action to end the killings of African Americans by law enforcement. Bush stated, “With all due respect, Mr. President-let’s talk about losing people. We lost Michael Brown Jr., we lost Breonna Taylor. We’re losing our loved ones to police violence. It’s not a slogan. It’s a mandate for keeping our people alive. Defund the police” (Noor, 2020).

Obama’s criticism of the initiative is not necessarily what the movement stands for, but rather how it is being presented. By saying “defund the police”, Obama and other critics feel that it is off-putting and turning off influential people who would be able to actually enact change. They also believe that the initiate has negatively affected the Democratic party. Obama went on to elaborate, “If you instead say, ‘Let’s reform the police department so that everybody’s being treated fairly’, you know, divert young people from getting into crime….if there’s a homeless guy, can maybe we send a mental health worker there instead of an armed unit that could end up resulting in a tragedy? Suddenly, a whole bunch of folks who might now otherwise listen to you are listening to you” (Noor, 2020). Obama’s comments are dangerous due to the fact that it gives representatives that are against the movement ammunition to debunk the movement. His statements are also reminiscent of the “all lives matter” rhetoric by stating that they should change the goal to reforming the department so “everyone can be treated fairly” when it’s not everyone that is being affected by police brutality, it’s mainly African Americans.

References

Noor,J. “Obama Slams ‘Defund the Police’, But His Failed Reforms Fueled The Movement”. The Real News Network. 7 December, 2020. https://therealnews.com/obama-slams-defund-the-police-but-his-failed-reforms-fueled-the-movement

Bates,J. “As ‘Defund the Police’ Splits the Democratic Caucus, Criminal Justice Activists Are Already Wary of Biden Administration”. 16 November, 2020. https://time.com/5910765/joe-biden-criminal-justice/

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