Blackspot

Blackspot the Police

Can we stop the increasing militarization of our communities through a movement to de-fund the police?

Byron Hammick, Kendra James, James Jahar Perez, James Philip Chasse, Amadou Bailo Diallo, Julian Alexander, Bobby Tolan, Oscar Grant and Alexandros Grigoropoulos. These are the names of innocent, unarmed individuals executed without a trial by police officers (source). Of course, the list is not exhaustive and shootings seem to be occurring with greater frequency as police departments become increasingly militarized. There is even talk of developing softer handcuffs that can be used on children as young as five years old (source). The death of Alexandros Grigoropoulos in Athens sparked riots as did the videotaped execution of Oscar Grant in Oakland, CA. But while riots may relieve the anger of the moment, they also function to justify increasing police budgets. What if we took a different tactic and blackspotted the police by building a movement to de-fund the police and replace them with community safety patrols.

Let's take the example of Oakland, California where Oscar Grant was lying on his stomach, restrained by police officers and then shot and killed. The whole incident was caught on tape (see video below) so there is little dispute as to the facts of the case. Oakland currently spends around $194 million on police services and their total budget is a little under $950 million (source). That is about four times as much as is spent on Libraries, Parks and Museums combined. The police budget is an amazing 20% of the entire Oakland budget! In these times of economic depression, de-funding the police would directly translate into an increase of funding for the types of community quality of life improvements that decrease crime.

While we de-fund the police and pour that money into community improvement projects, we can also work to make the police unnecessary by replacing them with a Blackspot Police. Obviously a Blackspot Police would share very little in common with the State's police but would instead work to supercede the police by becoming the community's first responders. This would be something akin to the Guardian Angels who patrol "dusk until dawn, without weapons, [...] to ensure that citizens can enjoy their communities without fearing for their safety" (source). The objective would be to demonstrate that the police are overfunded and their presence is antagonistic and violent.

What have your experiences with the police been? Could a movement to de-fund work in your city?

Micah M. White is a Contributing Editor at Adbusters Magazine and an independent activist. www.micahmwhite.com

Adbusters 111 Cover

On Newsstands December 3

At last we’re in Winter. It’s the year 2047. A worn scrapbook from the future arrives in your lap. It offers a stunning global vision, a warning to the next generations, a repository of practical wisdom, and an invaluable roadmap which you need to navigate the dark times, and the opportunities, which lie ahead.

Subscribe to Adbusters Magazine

50 comments on the article “Blackspot the Police”

Displaying 1 - 10 of 50

Page 1 of 5

Anonymous

Great idea!!! The police remind me of Bikers, they like their big loud machines, their uniforms and they never fight alone... Espescially now that were in a recession they will try to prove their worth through generating a bunch of useless crime cases to be brough before the courts, there is a good possibility that speeding tickets and other fines will double maybe triple as means to prove their bolstering the government coffers.

Anonymous

Great idea!!! The police remind me of Bikers, they like their big loud machines, their uniforms and they never fight alone... Espescially now that were in a recession they will try to prove their worth through generating a bunch of useless crime cases to be brough before the courts, there is a good possibility that speeding tickets and other fines will double maybe triple as means to prove their bolstering the government coffers.

Joanne Mullen

Brilliant idea, get rid of the police. I'm sure all those poor oppressed murderers, burglars and muggers would immediately respond by befriending kittens and helping old ladies across the road. Where I live the police are always machine gunning babies and breaking into people's houses to criticise their wallpaper and I'm sure the world would be a much better place if people had to rely on a shadowy, ragtag 'community' force instead or were left to fend for themselves when faced with peril because the funding for the evil capitalist pigs had been slashed to the last bicycle. The police are always the enemy until you actually need them, when you're the first to whine that they don't come fast enough and don't have enough resources to solve your problem straight away. If you think society is bad with our current police force try looking at a country without one.

Joanne Mullen

Brilliant idea, get rid of the police. I'm sure all those poor oppressed murderers, burglars and muggers would immediately respond by befriending kittens and helping old ladies across the road. Where I live the police are always machine gunning babies and breaking into people's houses to criticise their wallpaper and I'm sure the world would be a much better place if people had to rely on a shadowy, ragtag 'community' force instead or were left to fend for themselves when faced with peril because the funding for the evil capitalist pigs had been slashed to the last bicycle. The police are always the enemy until you actually need them, when you're the first to whine that they don't come fast enough and don't have enough resources to solve your problem straight away. If you think society is bad with our current police force try looking at a country without one.

Cassidy

What the fuck?!?! This makes me sick to my stomach What kind of sick a twisted people make up the police force? Bullies. They're all power hungry bullies.

Cassidy

What the fuck?!?! This makes me sick to my stomach What kind of sick a twisted people make up the police force? Bullies. They're all power hungry bullies.

matthb

Yes, police forces tend to attract a lot of high testosterone jarheads who have watched too many action movies. Yes, they have ridiculous rules governing the use of force (shoot a guy who's waving a knife around?). Yes, they sometimes make mistakes and screw up--if you can't admit they were as surprised as anyone when the gun went off you are lying to yourself. It has been speculated lately that the cop responsible thought he was reaching for a Taser (don't get me started on this "non-lethal" weapon). That seems a stretch, but I honestly don't think he intended to shoot a restrained subject in full sight of a train full of people. So, yes, police departments need community oversight and screwed up steroid cases should be bounced out of the force and prosecuted for cases like this. But I don't think I'd feel better with my neighbors on patrol. I know my neighbors. Only one of them owns a gun. The rest wouldn't be much use even with big sticks, though they would probably run over someone in their SUV. And they'd be even more likely than the cops to savagely beat, say, the weird looking dude who tramps down our street at odd hours but doesn't live here. And besides, after 4:00pm they are mostly drunk.

matthb

Yes, police forces tend to attract a lot of high testosterone jarheads who have watched too many action movies. Yes, they have ridiculous rules governing the use of force (shoot a guy who's waving a knife around?). Yes, they sometimes make mistakes and screw up--if you can't admit they were as surprised as anyone when the gun went off you are lying to yourself. It has been speculated lately that the cop responsible thought he was reaching for a Taser (don't get me started on this "non-lethal" weapon). That seems a stretch, but I honestly don't think he intended to shoot a restrained subject in full sight of a train full of people. So, yes, police departments need community oversight and screwed up steroid cases should be bounced out of the force and prosecuted for cases like this. But I don't think I'd feel better with my neighbors on patrol. I know my neighbors. Only one of them owns a gun. The rest wouldn't be much use even with big sticks, though they would probably run over someone in their SUV. And they'd be even more likely than the cops to savagely beat, say, the weird looking dude who tramps down our street at odd hours but doesn't live here. And besides, after 4:00pm they are mostly drunk.

Pages

Add a new comment

Comments are closed.