To: President Obama and Congress
Tell Obama: Defund Police Departments that lack reform
Congress and the Obama administration are giving million dollar grants to failed police departments–it has to stop. Tell President Obama and Congress: Stop funding police departments that have failed to make simple reforms for Black lives.
Why is this important?
Politicians can’t keep promising the change we need in local police departments and quietly maintain the status quo by failing to take real action. Pres. Obama and Congress have real power to hold police departments accountable with their funding—if they are really about stopping police terror in Black communities, this is how they show it.
Baton Rouge PD, the very police department that killed Alton Sterling, has been under investigation by the Department of Justice for civil rights violations TWICE—including for its harassment of Black people following Hurricane Katrina. Yet, federal officials continue to give them money--in fact, Baton Rouge PD has received 3 million dollars from the DOJ over the past five years.
In the aftermath of his death, it was revealed that Philando Castile had been stopped by police 52 times in 14 years—and subject to the same profiling, criminalization, and extraction of wealth detailed in the Department of Justice’s report on Ferguson police and replicated everywhere in the US.
The federal government knows exactly how police departments are terrorizing Black communities—it’s past time they do something about it and hold these police departments accountable.
The reforms we’re calling for are simple ones that President Obama himself has supported and funded research to create with the 21st Century Policing Task Force.7 It’s time for Pres. Obama to step up and ensure these critical reforms actually happen—and he can do that by withholding funds from any police department that doesn’t do the following:
Embrace a culture of transparency
-Make all department policies available for public review, and publish demographic data on all stops, frisks, summonses and arrests.
-Collect, maintain, and analyze demographic data on all officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths.
Hold the police accountable
-Adopt policies that require all officers to seek written consent before any search & provide their name, reason for stop or search, and contact information for the civilian complaint board.
-Police cannot and should not police themselves. Require independent criminal investigations into all officer-involved fatalities and in-custody deaths.
-Enforce policies prohibiting profiling and discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, immigration status, disability, housing status, occupation and/or language fluency.
With four Black deaths in a matter of days, we're in—and have been in—a state of emergency. We can't afford to spend millions of dollars on police departments that will continue killing, criminalizing, and incarcerating Black people.