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

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50 comments on the article “Blackspot the Police”

Displaying 11 - 20 of 50

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Anonymous

GUNS are the problem! Yes there are gun laws, some more strict than others, but there is no control over guns. We need to do a better job of making firearms harder to posses, and stop the manufacturing of them. Violent crime/murders would immediately drop, the need for police would gradually be reduced, only then could we consider 'Blackspot Police'

Anonymous

GUNS are the problem! Yes there are gun laws, some more strict than others, but there is no control over guns. We need to do a better job of making firearms harder to posses, and stop the manufacturing of them. Violent crime/murders would immediately drop, the need for police would gradually be reduced, only then could we consider 'Blackspot Police'

LeftCoastConser...

No, violent crime/murders would not drop. Take a careful look at the U.K. After implementing a near total firearms ban, their violent crime rate, and their handgun violence rate is higher today than before the ban. Violent crime is not caused by the presence of guns, but by other societal factors. While I understand that poor communities are suspicious of police, and may think that defunding them would help, all that would really happen would be to make these same poor communities helpless prey to the gangs. Be careful what you wish for, because you may get it.

LeftCoastConser...

No, violent crime/murders would not drop. Take a careful look at the U.K. After implementing a near total firearms ban, their violent crime rate, and their handgun violence rate is higher today than before the ban. Violent crime is not caused by the presence of guns, but by other societal factors. While I understand that poor communities are suspicious of police, and may think that defunding them would help, all that would really happen would be to make these same poor communities helpless prey to the gangs. Be careful what you wish for, because you may get it.

Anonymous

Hey, I've been reading Adbusters for awhile and am very fond of reading peoples comments. I'm a high school senior and tomorrow a state police officer/ SWAT member is coming to talk in my english class and we can ask questions, I have a few good ones written down but I was curious if there are any specific questions you all think I should ask? I mean I know I'm probably going to end up debating a police officer but this isn't about me gainig knowledge, I'm trying to get my classmates to think. So if you all think of any great questions for me to ask that would be awesome! Thanks

Anonymous

Hey, I've been reading Adbusters for awhile and am very fond of reading peoples comments. I'm a high school senior and tomorrow a state police officer/ SWAT member is coming to talk in my english class and we can ask questions, I have a few good ones written down but I was curious if there are any specific questions you all think I should ask? I mean I know I'm probably going to end up debating a police officer but this isn't about me gainig knowledge, I'm trying to get my classmates to think. So if you all think of any great questions for me to ask that would be awesome! Thanks

Chad

I don't believe that all police forces must be de-funded. I do believe that most need stricter budget control (for example, my community has a very low violent crime rate, and yet our sheriff's department own a tank). I think that many policies that influence them need to change, but I think that cutting out their funding will only cripple a community that desperately needs their help.

Chad

I don't believe that all police forces must be de-funded. I do believe that most need stricter budget control (for example, my community has a very low violent crime rate, and yet our sheriff's department own a tank). I think that many policies that influence them need to change, but I think that cutting out their funding will only cripple a community that desperately needs their help.

uselesstree

OK, to be a little sane about this: the police arise from the same source as the criminal. Where I live there are armed "gangs" and sundry other "criminals". If we can't black spot them, there is little use in blackspotting the cops. Al Capone is reputed to have said something th the effect that he was a firm believer in the american free enterprise system, that it had treated him very well. There is a distinct difference between a criminal and a revolutionary. Stealing a plasma screen TV, buying one hot, or using money gained through the sale of crack cocaine are not revolutionary acts. The vast majority of criminal activity is committed in the name of the same thing that the vast majority of "work" is committed, namely, to gain entrance to the status and comfort of the consumer culture. The police are, of course, just another gang in all this but eliminating them will not eliminate the problems that draw them into existence. As much as I hate seeing things like that video, it is important that we not rely on simple answers and scapegoating to solve complex problems in which we ourselves might be implicated. Police are a symptom of a deeper blight

uselesstree

OK, to be a little sane about this: the police arise from the same source as the criminal. Where I live there are armed "gangs" and sundry other "criminals". If we can't black spot them, there is little use in blackspotting the cops. Al Capone is reputed to have said something th the effect that he was a firm believer in the american free enterprise system, that it had treated him very well. There is a distinct difference between a criminal and a revolutionary. Stealing a plasma screen TV, buying one hot, or using money gained through the sale of crack cocaine are not revolutionary acts. The vast majority of criminal activity is committed in the name of the same thing that the vast majority of "work" is committed, namely, to gain entrance to the status and comfort of the consumer culture. The police are, of course, just another gang in all this but eliminating them will not eliminate the problems that draw them into existence. As much as I hate seeing things like that video, it is important that we not rely on simple answers and scapegoating to solve complex problems in which we ourselves might be implicated. Police are a symptom of a deeper blight

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