KENTUCKY Calls— Social media has been flooded in recent weeks by calls to subvert police after Breonna Taylor and David McAtee were murdered by officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department and George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police.
Minneapolis City Council announced on Sunday that they will lift and dissolve their police. City council members say they want to cut funding to Minneapolis police as a whole despite objections from Mayor Jacob Frey (D). Despite council members in Minnesota working to dismantle the police, most are asking for defunding, not complete elimination. Rather, it is an appeal to national and local governments to take away funding from the police and reinvest the money in impoverished communities most affected by police brutality.
Christy Lopez, a professor at Georgetown Law School, wrote in an opinion for the Washington Post that it is not just about funding, but also taking away some of the responsibilities that police officers take on and moving them to different parts of move the community. Dr. Ben Fisher, an assistant professor at the University of Louisville, says police are increasingly turning to the homeless and those who deal with mental health problems or police care in schools.
“The police are often the first choice to respond to those different situations,” said Fisher. “Calls to unmask the police say that we will use that money we give to the police and use it again to invest in communities and preventive efforts and more mental health services that are more suitable for the people who need them to have.”
Black Lives Matter calls for the release of all police forces, including LMPD, responsible for the deaths of two black people in three months. Fisher says these calls are a way to combat the racism that’s been ingrained in the police system for years.
“Hearing calls to expose the police is one of many strategies to counter this systemic racism,” he said. “Where we see investments in low-income colored communities, it is the investment in ways to punish them and stop them rather than kickstart them or see economic progress.”
Calls to indemnify the police are not suitable for everyone, however.
“When you say you are cheating on the police, it means different things to different people, because where does the money come from for the police, but the question is what you want the police to do and how do you want them to do it,” K.A. Owens, a board member of the Kentucky Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression, explains.
Many of those who insist on police corruption rather than police reform say it has gone too far to fix it and consider it more tax money for a broken system.
“For example, by giving police cameras that put more money into police work and rely on technology to guard our citizens through a police force that has shown it to be unjust for centuries,” he said. “The contrast between reform and defunding is one of the people who consider the system interchangeable.”
The conversation about rejecting police and reform is not a new one.
“What is the goal of police work in the 21st century and we need to redefine it and that is what people across the country are talking about,” said Owens. “Of course, some people have closed their police services in the past and rebuilt them on a different model because they had failed police forces.”
But many say that it is not only the police forces that need to be changed, it is the criminal justice system as a whole where prosecutors are also given too much power.
“You still have three strike laws. Do we need a police station to harass black and brown people, arrest them on minor charges, give them a criminal record so they can’t have a criminal record, so they can’t have a future, and then the prosecutor sends them to Jai, punish them “, said Owens. “In other words, the police are part of a failed system in America, and that’s what we’re talking about.”
Many advocates say that a strong police presence in areas can increase crime, Fisher focuses on police in schools and says there are strong indications that the presence of the police has a negative effect on students. “My research at school certainly shows when the police are close to the crime.”
People who are critical of the police think that things cannot stay as they are.
“Changing police policies in America is a long time ago, and the budget and what you spend your money on is what you care about and the war on drugs, the war on crime, is and is outdated,” said Owens. “It has just led to the prosecution of black and brown people and poor people.”
Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, however, does not support this movement and described the dismantling and dissolution of police forces as “extremely dangerous and reckless”.