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 41 - 50 of 50

Page 5 of 5

uselesstree

This is a cool bit about the real source of police domination of our world-it describes police domination of our consciousness. Although many of the references are to the pop culture and world of the 1980s, I submit that most of what is said still applies. http://www.left-bank.org/bey/resoluti.htm

uselesstree

This is a cool bit about the real source of police domination of our world-it describes police domination of our consciousness. Although many of the references are to the pop culture and world of the 1980s, I submit that most of what is said still applies. http://www.left-bank.org/bey/resoluti.htm

Mattia

Dear All, what I have just seen is simply harrowing. What shocks me even more is the very mild reaction of the people all around. A person has been killed and no one does anything, the train goes towards the next station... I think that the problem is not about how much money is spent for the police budget, but the fact that the American society is extremely violent in most of its expressions. It would be great to have policemen going around unarmed, but the problem is that there are a lot of people around carrying weapons for no apparent reason, therefore making necessary for agents to be equipped for a war. I have the luck to come from a country where having a personal firearm is almost illegal (having a permit is quite hard, you have to pass periodical psychiatric tests but most of all you MUST have a REASON to own one). Further to that it is illegal to carry around with you anything that could be used as a weapon (baseball bats, stones etc.). It goes without saying, you feel safer and the amount of violence around is much smaller. That's the first face of the problem: desarming the society. Secondly, the problem is not only how police agents are equipped, but who they are. Animals like the ones shown in the video are unfit to wear a uniform. Maybe if would be better to spend a bit less money for the police guns and a bit more trying to make psychological screening of the people entitled to carry them and to use them, and why not, getting rid of the dangerous policemen (no doubt they would be less dangerous doing other jobs).

Mattia

Dear All, what I have just seen is simply harrowing. What shocks me even more is the very mild reaction of the people all around. A person has been killed and no one does anything, the train goes towards the next station... I think that the problem is not about how much money is spent for the police budget, but the fact that the American society is extremely violent in most of its expressions. It would be great to have policemen going around unarmed, but the problem is that there are a lot of people around carrying weapons for no apparent reason, therefore making necessary for agents to be equipped for a war. I have the luck to come from a country where having a personal firearm is almost illegal (having a permit is quite hard, you have to pass periodical psychiatric tests but most of all you MUST have a REASON to own one). Further to that it is illegal to carry around with you anything that could be used as a weapon (baseball bats, stones etc.). It goes without saying, you feel safer and the amount of violence around is much smaller. That's the first face of the problem: desarming the society. Secondly, the problem is not only how police agents are equipped, but who they are. Animals like the ones shown in the video are unfit to wear a uniform. Maybe if would be better to spend a bit less money for the police guns and a bit more trying to make psychological screening of the people entitled to carry them and to use them, and why not, getting rid of the dangerous policemen (no doubt they would be less dangerous doing other jobs).

Piotr Stepanovitch

The militaro-industrial complex is a far too strong opponnent to permit a defunding easly. On their side is the alienated population, the ones who fears riots, terrorism, and extremism. I don't see what might be succesful in order to even make the political class accept the concept of defunding the police and the military sector. Lobbyism fails, democracy fails, direct Action fails since it justificate the reinforcement, etc. It's another example of how the whole system must change.

Piotr Stepanovitch

The militaro-industrial complex is a far too strong opponnent to permit a defunding easly. On their side is the alienated population, the ones who fears riots, terrorism, and extremism. I don't see what might be succesful in order to even make the political class accept the concept of defunding the police and the military sector. Lobbyism fails, democracy fails, direct Action fails since it justificate the reinforcement, etc. It's another example of how the whole system must change.

julientw

The Police Forces around the world, not unlike the rest of the uniformed services are just the puppets of the bureaucrats. They are taught to live, eat and breathe what the politicians throw at them. In the UK the police are now using their over-extended powers to turn us all into government automatons and creatures that are unable to think for ourselves. Long live Free Thinking - Long Live Freedom of Speech - Long Live Freedom!

julientw

The Police Forces around the world, not unlike the rest of the uniformed services are just the puppets of the bureaucrats. They are taught to live, eat and breathe what the politicians throw at them. In the UK the police are now using their over-extended powers to turn us all into government automatons and creatures that are unable to think for ourselves. Long live Free Thinking - Long Live Freedom of Speech - Long Live Freedom!

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