Minneapolis Police Force Faces Change
June 8, 2020 6:41 AM   Subscribe

From the StarTribune: In their boldest statement since George Floyd’s killing, nine Minneapolis City Council members told a crowd Sunday that they will “begin the process of ending the Minneapolis Police Department.” “We recognize that we don’t have all the answers about what a police-free future looks like, but our community does,” they said, reading off a prepared statement. “We’re committed to engaging with every willing community member in the City of Minneapolis over the next year to identify what safety looks like for you.” Their words — delivered one day after Mayor Jacob Frey told a crowd of protesters he does not support the full abolishment of the MPD — set off what is likely to be a long, complicated debate about the future of the state’s largest police force.

Meanwhile, from Vox: Officials across the country are desperate to take swift, concrete steps to respond to protests against police brutality. Campaign Zero, which emerged from the police protests in Ferguson, Missouri, has come up with ideas that could fit the bill: They don’t cost any money and could be implemented very fast.

The hashtag for the campaign, #8CantWait, is trending on social media. It’s been endorsed by Oprah and Ariana Grande, and DeRay Mckesson is talking about it everywhere from GQ to Fast Company to The Bill Simmons Podcast.

The ideas include conduct remedies like banning chokeholds, changing reporting systems for use of force incidents, requiring officers to intervene when they witness misconduct, and more.
posted by Bella Donna (158 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
 
Minneapolis is the 48th most populous city in the U.S., but the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington Metropolitan Statistical Area is the 16th most populous -- bigger than San Diego or Denver. Imagine telling yourself from two months ago that the 16th largest center of population in the country is having a serious conversation not just about abolishing its largest police department, but how it's going to do it.

Also, #8CantWait is a bandaid, and it requires massively more transparency than police have shown themselves to be capable of as a profession. Any city that tries to implement it at this point in time is going to regret not taking more stringent measures.
posted by Etrigan at 6:52 AM on June 8 [47 favorites]


The #8CantWait proposals are fine as they go and I did urge my city council person to enact all of them (4 are already in place) but that's only a tiny first step. I don't want them to walk away after enacting those saying "OK, our job is done".
posted by octothorpe at 6:58 AM on June 8 [13 favorites]


Some related via MR:
- Disbanding and starting over worked pretty well in Camden, NJ (for the love of god DO NOT READ THE COMMENTS). Not clear how you scale to so much larger a city without an adjacent larger one to recruit cops from.
- Supervisory investigations probably decrease crime and homicide (not by much), but metropolitan PD slow downs in response to scrutiny / status loss have large crime-increasing effects.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 7:01 AM on June 8 [12 favorites]


I wonder what impact doing other unimaginable things this council has done, such as abolishing single family zoning. It is easier to do a second impossible thing after you have done the first.
posted by rockindata at 7:02 AM on June 8 [26 favorites]


They don’t cost any money and could be implemented very fast.

I think that as wary as we should be of police reforms that give them more funding (and there are many and they are bad) we should be even more wary of police reforms that dont cost money or take effort. HOW COULD THEY POSSIBLY HAVE ANY POSITIVE OUTCOMES?

the issue with the campaign zero 8 cant wait reforms is they dont do shit unless theres a 9th mechanism for actually holding anybody accountable. i watched Phillipe Cunningham say all these things on the Obama foundation conversation last week but never imagined id hear it said by 8 other people whose votes matter. And the day after the mayor got the full Cersei Lannister treatment from abolitionists outside his house.

I dont live in, and did not grow up in, the Twin Cities but they will always be an adopted home and a place where we have a lot of our people. To see some of those folks sitting in Powderhorn Park hearing about the changes they can expect to see, when just last week we were talking about self-organized sweeps of alleys for white supremacists and arson accelerants, well fuck, what a sunday.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:10 AM on June 8 [9 favorites]


This twitter thread is an excellent read for those wanting to understand what "abolish police" is about.

Also this graphic, which I got deep in a recent MeFi thread.

I am a Minneapolis resident and welcome the radical change the City Council voted for with a (VETO-PROOF!) majority. It's been a horrible last few weeks here, but people like myself all across this city need to recognize it's been a horrible last few decades for PoC in this city.

The words "abolish police" is going to be tough for people to swallow. I hope that it's not a movement that gets lost because of the fear those words put in people (and believe me, I'm hearing that fear from people in my neighborhood), but its goals are 100% reasonable and necessary.
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:22 AM on June 8 [45 favorites]


YouGov found that cutting funding for police departments had a whopping 16% support when the issue was polled May 29-30.

Maybe that will change after the past week of protests, but I'm skeptical that abolition will ever be anything other than a fringe position.
posted by factory123 at 7:23 AM on June 8 [4 favorites]


well not with that attitude, mister
posted by entropicamericana at 7:28 AM on June 8 [68 favorites]


We have been on the real life version of Mr Bones Wild Ride for the past few weeks. Most of the people I know in Minneapolis-proper have had some degree of a trauma response, myself included, and outside of the neighborhood walgreens getting looted I've watched this mostly from my couch.

I'm going to have to read "The end of Policing" faster than I thought. Also going to (ugh) try to talk down a few people on nextdoor who think the police are being eliminated. Anecdotal support for it seems pretty high though, even down here in the Windom neighborhood, which is 75% white.
posted by MillMan at 7:32 AM on June 8 [7 favorites]


Also, #8CantWait is a bandaid, and it requires massively more transparency than police have shown themselves to be capable of as a profession.

Any reforms that require an honor system on the part of the police are doomed to fail. The instinct to circle their wagons and protect their own, even the bad cops, has been shown time and again to be too strong.

How's this for a reform: Any arrest or use of force made with a body camera switched off is exempt from any protection of "qualified immunity."
posted by Gelatin at 7:33 AM on June 8 [34 favorites]


It's amazing seeing this idea get so much actual traction over the last couple of weeks -- it seemingly went from a fringe concept to something that is actually being implemented in varying degrees almost overnight.

I am in a city with a very poorly-controlled police department, that has successfully negotiated "oversight" that creates a near-total lack of accountability. Now, they appear to be at serious risk of budget cuts at a minimum, and hopefully there will continue to be enough pressure to force the changes needed to create actual accountability. If there is a certain amount of disassembling the department, so much the better.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:35 AM on June 8 [6 favorites]


Some perspective from Denmark
posted by growabrain at 7:53 AM on June 8 [6 favorites]


even the bad cops

that's the only kind that exist
posted by poffin boffin at 7:55 AM on June 8 [20 favorites]


The words "abolish police" is going to be tough for people to swallow.

Over the last week or so, when people express dismay at the concept of abolition (or defunding, or whatever you wish to call basically any change in the size of police departments), I've asked them "When was the last time you interacted with a police officer?" Their response invariably indicates that we already have vast swaths of America with essentially defunded or abolished police departments: they're called "upper middle class white suburbs".
posted by Etrigan at 8:01 AM on June 8 [70 favorites]


I'm all for strong unions, but I wonder if there's a way to separate out the collective bargaining power of the police unions to negotiate for health care, raises, and so forth from their seeming ability to prevent any meaningful reforms to their member's operations as police. As civil servants, I want the police to be able to earn a decent living, but as agents of the state there obviously needs to be a lot more accountability and a lot less room for judgement calls on the part of individual officers. Collective bargaining negotiations don't seem like the right places to set these kinds of policies.
posted by whir at 8:06 AM on June 8 [11 favorites]


The words "abolish police" is going to be tough for people to swallow.

Not for the far right, I'm sure the Hawaiian shirt crowd is all for the abolishment of the police so they can use "2a solutions".
posted by 445supermag at 8:17 AM on June 8 [3 favorites]


Abolishing police unions will probably make every other sort of reform or change easier and more effective.

The agency that employs me isn't unionized, but it bases its wages and benefits off of other public sector agencies that are unionized. A similar setup could be done for police.
posted by Jpfed at 8:29 AM on June 8 [9 favorites]


At this point the situation has become so bad that any cop who isn’t either leaving the force or publicly condemning it cannot be considered a “good cop.” If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem.

I also think that whatever we replace police with, we cannot call them anything that includes the words “police” or “officer.” Those words have become too tainted. I know my blood pressure goes up when I hear either of them, and I automatically distrust anyone who identifies themselves with either.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:33 AM on June 8 [16 favorites]


I've compiled a "Five Point Plan to manage the Risk of Police Brutality", which shouldn't be hard to implement.

* Every police officer should be bonded and licensed. The licensing board will also act as a training regulatory body. Their authority to suspend or revoke licenses replaces all the other professional disciplinary procedures, saving individual departments money.

* Either eliminate qualified immunity, or restore the balance of equities. ( By perhaps rolling it back to the 2-prong test ).

* Police pension plans must be subject to judgements against their beneficiaries. Every "good cop's" retirement should be dependent on them "self-policing" the "bad cops" BEFORE they hurt someone and draw a brutality lawsuit.

* Create a class-A felony level "Official Misconduct" charge, covering any police officer, having probable cause to believe another cop committed a crime, who fails in their duty to arrest the suspected criminal officer.

* Require officers to purchase insurance coverage for the risk of their misconduct/brutality. This takes the assessment of "good cop"/"bad cop" out of the hands of the police, and in the hands of insurance actuaries. "Bad cops" won't be able to afford the insurance to be a cop.
posted by mikelieman at 8:34 AM on June 8 [26 favorites]


YouGov found that cutting funding for police departments had a whopping 16% support when the issue was polled May 29-30.

Yes, a bunch of people who have never been exposed to the idea before are wrestling with it. You'd be surprised what other ideas were initially unpopular two days after people first heard about them.
posted by maxsparber at 8:38 AM on June 8 [37 favorites]


Just a quick note that maybe I should have put into my previous comment about police unions: if you cut funding for a police department, first be sure that they don't have a union contract that specifies that police officers are retained on the basis of seniority. Because that means they will fire the newer cops first- the cops less likely to have been affected by the contagion of misconduct.
posted by Jpfed at 8:43 AM on June 8 [11 favorites]


the issue with the campaign zero 8 cant wait reforms is they dont do shit unless theres a 9th mechanism for actually holding anybody accountable

Personally I'd favor something that boils down to "Any government organization that possesses or whose employees possess weapons unavailable to the general public are part of the organized militia of the US, subject to the UCMJ, and presidents can put them under direct military discipline whenevs"
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:45 AM on June 8 [3 favorites]


Personally I'd favor something that boils down to "Any government organization that possesses or whose employees possess weapons unavailable to the general public are part of the organized militia of the US, subject to the UCMJ, and presidents can put them under direct military discipline whenevs"

This is a horrible idea that would just feed into the militarized mentality that is part of the problem. Cops are not soldiers, and should never be treated as such.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:47 AM on June 8 [30 favorites]


the issue with the campaign zero 8 cant wait reforms is they dont do shit unless theres a 9th mechanism for actually holding anybody accountable.

From #8cantwait website link to Google Doc on its research basis:
"... in 2016, we conducted an analysis of the 100 largest US cities found that there were eight types of restrictions in police use of force policies that were associated with reductions in killings by police. This is the largest study on this topic to date and its findings echo the findings from past research, confirming the efficacy of policies like banning shooting at people in vehicles, the requirement officers exhaust alternatives prior to using deadly force and the requirement that officers report whenever they point a firearm at people.

"Moreover, our research found that having all eight of these use of force restrictions in place was associated with 72% fewer police-involved killings compared to departments with none of these policies in place and a 54% reduction for the average police department. In that study, we also found that police departments with more restrictive use of force policies have better outcomes in terms of officer safety and have no impact on crime rates. The research is clear: more restrictive use of force policies like the kind we are advocating for through the 8Can’tWait campaign can save lives right now."

Related, the Use of Force Project Policy Database
posted by Bella Donna at 8:50 AM on June 8 [8 favorites]


I think three things have moved the needle for your average privileged American white person:

1. Constant and increasing video evidence of brutality

2. Learning just how huge (NYPD=6 BILLION dollars) police budgets are in comparison to other city items

3. Other white people talking about how useless the cops are when you report a robbery or rape; they just don't give a damn or even blame you. They won't even process rape kits. There have been at least two epic Twitter threads of people sharing stories.
posted by emjaybee at 9:02 AM on June 8 [43 favorites]


Cross-posted from the Minneapolis protest thread: When protesters cry ‘defund the police,’ what does it mean? (AP)
Supporters say it isn’t about eliminating police departments or stripping agencies of all of their money. They say it is time for the country to address systemic problems in policing in America and spend more on what communities across the U.S. need, like housing and education. [...] The group MPD150, which says it is “working towards a police-free Minneapolis,” argues that such action would be more about “strategically reallocating resources, funding, and responsibility away from police and toward community-based models of safety, support, and prevention.”

[...] President Donald Trump and his campaign view the emergence of the “Defund the Police” slogan as a spark of opportunity during what has been a trying political moment. Trump’s response to the protests has sparked widespread condemnation. But now his supporters say the new mantra may make voters, who may be otherwise sympathetic to the protesters, recoil from a “radical” idea. Trump ramped up his rhetoric on the issue on Monday, tweeting: “LAW & ORDER, NOT DEFUND AND ABOLISH THE POLICE. The Radical Left Democrats have gone Crazy!”

[...] “It is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe,” Lisa Bender, the [Minneapolis City Council] president, said. “Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period.” Disbanding an entire department has happened before. In 2012, with crime rampant in Camden, New Jersey, the city disbanded its police department and replaced it with a new force that covered Camden County. Compton, California, took the same step in 2000, shifting its policing to Los Angeles County.
posted by katra at 9:04 AM on June 8 [4 favorites]


I'm just here to mention that the only city with these protests that got shit done was the one that took Direct Action and burned down a police precinct.

This is for all the people who say protests and direct action don't work.

Bullshit, they're basically the only fucking things that DO work.
posted by deadaluspark at 9:15 AM on June 8 [63 favorites]


I'm a middle-class white guy, I'm at low risk for any negative interaction with police. I'm also a Minneapolis resident, and my wife is the daughter of a retired small-town cop. We've had conversations with him in the past that made it clear he didn't understand the issues - his default approach was "if you don't want to be shot by police, just do what they ask and let the courts figure out afterwards whether you were treated unfairly". He just didn't get that a huge percentage of our community nationwide does not see the police badge as a sign that the person is there to help. But there is a HUGE difference between how I am treated by police, and how persons of color and are treated. You have to be willfully blind to reality not to see it.

Case example: I was once pulled over because the vehicle I was driving resembled one that had been called in as being driven by a person brandishing a gun. I noted that the cop seemed cautious, I stayed calm and did what he asked, and he visibly relaxed once he realized I was not carrying a gun. But he BELIEVED me when he asked if I had a gun. He didn't pull me from the car, cuff me, and search. He didn't approach me with weapon drawn. He didn't call in backup before even engaging. If I wasn't a white man, dollars to donuts some or all of the above would have occurred. And let's face it, if I were not a white guy I would probably have looked extremely nervous after being pulled over by a cop with his hand on his gun, for GOOD REASON.

My father-in-law can't see that, he can't understand why anyone would be afraid of the police. Our city council seems to get it. My older brother thinks the Minneapolis council is insane. (He's conservative, and an Army reservist, he also doesn't seem to understand why I don't have a handgun. I love him but it's like we are from two different families entirely.)

I think that Minneapolis is taking a bold step because it is ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that the steps taken to date have not been effective and have not been drastic enough.

It's about time that someone tries to make my neighbors of color feel as safe in our community as my wife and I have always felt. We should NOT have the right to feel more safe than all of our neighbors. There will absolutely be people who don't get it, and there will absolutely be people who will GTFO to the suburbs because their lily-white asses won't feel safe in the unpoliced crime cesspool they imagine will result. But let's face it, those people ALREADY don't feel safe, every time a POC passes them in the street. At this point in history I do not feel that the fears and personal comfort of white residents count. Assuaging our worries at the expense of everyone with a different skin tone is bullshit and it needs to end.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:18 AM on June 8 [47 favorites]


You'd be surprised what other ideas were initially unpopular two days after people first heard about them.

Historically, the police are one of the institutions to command the most confidence. Polling before these protests demonstrates that people not only like their local police, they support hiring more police officers.
posted by factory123 at 9:18 AM on June 8 [2 favorites]


‘Defund the police’ gains traction as cities seek to respond to demands for a major law enforcement shift (WaPo, Jun. 7, 2020)
Proponents of police defunding say reform alone is not enough — and has not worked in the past. They say leaders must make policy changes that reduce reliance on officers and reallocate money spent on law enforcement to black communities for services such as schools, health care and housing. “When we talk about defunding the police, what we’re saying is, invest in the resources that our communities need,” Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza told NBC News’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “So much of policing right now is generated and directed towards quality-of-life issues,” she said. “What we do need is increased funding for housing, we need increased funding for education, we need increased funding for the quality of life of communities who are over-policed and over-surveilled.”

A 2017 book, “The End of Policing” by Alex S. Vitale, a sociology professor at Brooklyn College, has become something of a manual for how such efforts might work. In it, Vitale argues that policing has ballooned out of control during the past 40 years, becoming a tool not just to combat crime but to deal with homelessness, mental illness and youth violence among other issues. The goal of reining in law enforcement was not to create a situation in which “someone just flips a switch and there are no police,” he told NPR last week, but to re-envision of the role of police in society.
posted by katra at 9:19 AM on June 8 [7 favorites]


Heyyyy Alex and I went to college together and were friends. Good on him.
posted by jessamyn at 9:24 AM on June 8 [8 favorites]


I'm just here to mention that the only city with these protests that got shit done was the one that took Direct Action and burned down a police precinct.

This is not true and you are minimizing the efforts of millions of people who put their lives on the line to protest. There have been pledges to reduce police department budgets in several other cities, including New York and LA. That is not to say the job is done. It has just begun.
posted by gwint at 9:27 AM on June 8 [12 favorites]


Etrigan: Over the last week or so, when people express dismay at the concept of abolition (or defunding, or whatever you wish to call basically any change in the size of police departments), I've asked them "When was the last time you interacted with a police officer?" Their response invariably indicates that we already have vast swaths of America with essentially defunded or abolished police departments: they're called "upper middle class white suburbs".

I'm pretty sure the reasoning is the same as was given for how the Iraq War would reduce terrorists: "If we keep them busy fighting over there, they won't come over here."

Many people in upper middle class white suburbs are happy with the current tactic of bringing the war to poor and minority neighbourhoods.
posted by clawsoon at 9:28 AM on June 8 [6 favorites]


This is a horrible idea that would just feed into the militarized mentality that is part of the problem. Cops are not soldiers, and should never be treated as such.

Right and American soldiers have a horrifying track record of how they treat people of color abroad. "Military discipline" isn't exactly what is needed if the issue is white supremacy.
posted by Ouverture at 9:33 AM on June 8 [6 favorites]


Why This Started in Minneapolis
Minneapolis is at once considered one of the most livable cities in the country, and the one with some of the greatest racial disparities in housing and income and education. There’s a dissonance, locals say, between its progressive rhetoric and the reality of how people of different races experience completely different cities. This local paradox is a microcosm of the statewide “Minnesota Paradox,” a term coined by University of Minnesota economist Samuel L. Myers Jr., to highlight the often-ignored inequality that defines the region.

CityLab spoke with five experts on race, culture, and state and local history to understand how they’ve experienced these divides, and how to bridge them. Our conversations have been edited and condensed.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:33 AM on June 8 [4 favorites]


Historically, the police are one of the institutions to command the most confidence. Polling before these protests demonstrates that people not only like their local police, they support hiring more police officers.

Of course they do. Police have waged an extensive propaganda campaign through television and movies. Many of our favorite fictional heroes are cops! Sometimes they have to break the rules to get things done! Every week they use incredibly impressive and totally not made up technology to solve murders and rapes!

I mean obviously they must be keeping us safe, just like this rock that keeps tigers away.
posted by graventy at 9:37 AM on June 8 [23 favorites]


The words "abolish police" is going to be tough for people to swallow.

Even if you want radical reform rather than abolition it is extremely useful to have the overton window moved all the way over by people supporting abolition.

I'd be curious to see detailed time and motion study data on what the police actually do in practice. I have a sneaking suspicion that most of it doesn't require having a heavily armed paramilitary force. If it will make people happy, we can always keep a very small number of such people around in a completely separate organisation.

There is no reason why we need "police" to do everything they do within one extremely powerful and well funded organisation.
posted by atrazine at 9:38 AM on June 8 [18 favorites]


From Newsweek:
Disbanding an entire police department isn't unheard of—the city of Camden, New Jersey did it in 2013 and as a result, saw an improvement in the relationship between police and residents as well as a dramatic drop in violent crime.
posted by Bella Donna at 9:47 AM on June 8 [4 favorites]


From Newsweek:
Disbanding an entire police department isn't unheard of—the city of Camden, New Jersey did it in 2013 and as a result, saw an improvement in the relationship between police and residents as well as a dramatic drop in violent crime.
In 2012, with crime rampant in Camden, New Jersey, the city disbanded its police department and replaced it with a new force that covered Camden County.
posted by katra at 9:49 AM on June 8 [5 favorites]


and replaced it with a new force that covered Camden County

You know how the Republicans keep promising to "repeal and replace" Obamacare, but obviously have no intention of doing the latter? It's the opposite of that.
posted by Gelatin at 9:54 AM on June 8 [11 favorites]


This is not true and you are minimizing the efforts of millions of people who put their lives on the line to protest. There have been pledges to reduce police department budgets in several other cities, including New York and LA. That is not to say the job is done. It has just begun.

These things are closely related. Protestors burning down a police precinct in one city will absolutely influence the leverage and power protestors in other cities have.

What have decades of non-violent protest and liberal reforms gotten us other than more people killed, maimed, and falsely imprisoned by the police?
posted by Ouverture at 9:54 AM on June 8 [13 favorites]


What have decades of non-violent protest and liberal reforms gotten us other than more people killed, maimed, and falsely imprisoned by the police?

Don't forget the massive surveillance apparatus that has been built so they can FIND something to throw you in jail for when you're "uppity!"

Does everyone forget that the kind of (and amount of) info cops can get on us without a warrant would be a Nazi SS Officers fucking wet dream?
posted by deadaluspark at 9:56 AM on June 8 [8 favorites]


Police have waged an extensive propaganda campaign through television and movies. Many of our favorite fictional heroes are cops! Sometimes they have to break the rules to get things done! Every week they use incredibly impressive and totally not made up technology to solve murders and rapes!

As currently being discussed in this multi-link FPP: Should we rethink cop shows?
posted by Lexica at 10:00 AM on June 8 [5 favorites]


Another notable fact about the Camden reforms - they disbanded the old force but then rehired many of the old officers and hired new officers, thereby doubling the size of the old police force. That's hardly an abolition.
posted by factory123 at 10:02 AM on June 8 [3 favorites]


Indeed, abolition implies complete disbandment and replacement with something entirely new.

Making a "new" police force just doesn't seem like its going to suddenly not have the same problems.
posted by deadaluspark at 10:03 AM on June 8 [3 favorites]


mcstayinskool: The words "abolish police" is going to be tough for people to swallow.

It'd be easier if we talked about the history of municipal police, namely public police forces were formed to reduce theft of business property and products in the north, and protect the slavery system in the south (Time Magazine). Specifically in the north, businesses convinced the public that it would be in the public benefit to offload their business cost of protecting their goods. And paid police replaced the volunteer morality cops (literally -- people would volunteer to watch out for gambling and prostitution).
posted by filthy light thief at 10:06 AM on June 8 [6 favorites]


What does 'defund the police' mean? The rallying cry sweeping the US – explained (Guardian, Jun. 6, 2020)
In the past four decades, the cost of policing in the US has tripled and is now $115bn, according to a recent analysis. That steady increase comes as crime has been consistently declining. [...] More broadly, longstanding abolitionist groups, such as Critical Resistance and MPD 150, argue that the cities should not be looking for minor savings and cuts, but should be fundamentally reducing the scale and size of the police force and dismantle the traditional law enforcement system. That can start with finding “non-police solutions to the problems poor people face”, such as counselors responding to mental health calls and addiction experts responding to drug abuse.

[...] While there is no contemporary example of defunding in the US, there are studies suggesting that less policing could mean less crime. In 2014 and 2015, New York officers staged a “slowdown” to protest the mayor, arguing that if they did less police work, the city would be less safe. But the opposite turned out to be true. When the officers took a break from “broken windows policing”, meaning targeting low-level offenses, there was a drop in crime. Researchers posited that aggressive policing on the streets for petty matters can ultimately cause social disruption and lead to more crime. Policing that punishes poverty, such as hefty traffic tickets and debts, can also create conditions where crime is more likely. When New York ended “stop and frisk”, crime did not rise. [...]

America’s legacy of racism and severe gun violence epidemic make it difficult to compare to other countries. But some have pointed out that compared to peer nations, the US spends significantly less on social services and more on public safety programs, and has astronomically higher incarceration rates. These investments in police and prison, however, don’t translate to a safer country. In fact, police in America kill more people in days than many countries do in years.
posted by katra at 10:14 AM on June 8 [16 favorites]


Thanks, katra, that was a misleading snippet I posted so thank you for the necessary context. (I was on my phone.) My thought was that in Camden, at least, scrapping its police department and simply starting a new one was a notable improvement. So transforming the police/defunding it/abolishing it–however that may look–seems hugely promising to me.
posted by Bella Donna at 10:14 AM on June 8 [3 favorites]


“Moreover, our research found that having all eight of these use of force restrictions in place was associated with 72% fewer police-involved killings compared to departments with none of these policies in place and a 54% reduction for the average police department.”

So....this study is bad. From a methodological point of view. The inference they are making is purely between PDs with and without the reforms and thus they have no evidence of causation. Moreover, they look at each reform's effect individually and assume that they stack without overlap. Plenty of the big offenders already have several of the reforms in place and it does basically nothing, so the "72%" figure is doubly misleading. More details here (twitter thread).

I think the reforms should absolutely be in place (to the extent we have any sort of "police"; I'm currently feeling pretty abolitionist). However, people should think carefully about how they spend political capitals and where this movement goes. If all the momentum right now goes into these reforms and those in power say "We did it, let's pop the champagne!", we will be right back here having this same conversation in a decade or two.
posted by Maecenas at 10:23 AM on June 8 [11 favorites]


I stayed calm and did what he asked, and he visibly relaxed once he realized I was not carrying a gun. But he BELIEVED me when he asked if I had a gun. He didn't pull me from the car, cuff me, and search.

I’m sure you already understand this, but I just wanted to spell it out for the record: The main reason you were able to stay calm is because you had good reason to believe he wouldn’t do any of those things to you.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:24 AM on June 8 [5 favorites]


Also a good link: John Oliver's recent piece on Last Week Tonight, on policing. (No, not police accountability -- that was a piece from 3 yeas ago. Before that, he covered Ferguson, MO and Police Militarization.)

In the latest one, he brings up the significant drop in arrests following the firing of Daniel Pantaleo, for killing Eric Garner. Oliver said "if you lived in New York City at the time, you probably don't remember this as the time that the city devolved into chaos, because it didn't ... making you wonder whether all those arrests were in the interest of public safety at all."
posted by filthy light thief at 10:37 AM on June 8 [14 favorites]


Plenty of the big offenders already have several of the reforms in place and it does basically nothing,

That's where I'm at. When Minneapolis has 4, then these reforms don't do shit.
posted by graventy at 10:37 AM on June 8 [3 favorites]


Is Camden the only instance of a city scrapping its police department and starting over?

If they're out there, I'd love to hear about other examples in order to get a sense of what people have tried and what seems to have worked.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:44 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Democrats unveil police reform bill

of course the Republicans will bury it in the Senate, but maybe, just maybe this time the Dems can not let that go unremarked, can call out the Republicans, can call in people to act
posted by kokaku at 10:59 AM on June 8 [5 favorites]


It's too late for reform, and the reform they're offering isn't enough.

This has to start with defunding local police departments, shutting them down, and replacing them with something new. (That "something" not being a new flavor of the month type of policing.)

We literally cannot count on the Federal Government for this.

Did everyone forget Obama violently putting down Native American DAPL protestors? They literally had attack dogs out for them, set fire to their campsites. Give me a break the Democrats are selling us a solution starting from a position of compromise like usual. They are not on our side. Seattle had its Democratic mayor gaslight the fucking protestors and said they were going to stop using teargas... No such luck.

But sure, reform will work. /s
posted by deadaluspark at 11:06 AM on June 8 [24 favorites]


Defund the Police (Annie Lowrey, Atlantic, Jun. 5, 2020)
Activists, civil-rights organizations, academics, policy analysts, and politicians have drawn up a sprawling slate of policies that might help end police brutality, eliminate racist policing, improve trust between cops and the communities they work in, and lower crime levels.

A more radical option, one scrawled on cardboard signs and tagged on buildings and flooding social media, is to defund the cops. What might that mean in practice? Not just smaller budgets and fewer officers, though many activists advocate for that. It would mean ending mass incarceration, cash bail, fines-and-fees policing, the war on drugs, and police militarization, as well as getting cops out of schools. It would also mean funding housing-first programs, creating subsidized jobs for the formerly incarcerated, and expanding initiatives to have mental-health professionals and social workers respond to emergency calls.

More broadly, the demand to divest from policing doubles as a call to invest in safety, security, and racial justice.
posted by katra at 11:27 AM on June 8 [9 favorites]


It would also mean funding housing-first programs, creating subsidized jobs for the formerly incarcerated, and expanding initiatives to have mental-health professionals and social workers respond to emergency calls.

Essentially, we would be defunding the cops and investing in solving the problems that cause crime to begin with like fucking poverty and homelessness.

We've known why crime happens for a long time, and we have done almost fuck-all to address the issues that cause crime to arise.

Oh, you know what would help all those abused women stuck in horrible relationships? Having the economic safety to MOVE OUT and not rely on their partner to be able to raise their child.

I can't even COUNT the number of women I know in that position, stuck with an abusive asshole because they literally have no other support network and can't afford to live alone.

Maybe if we addressed shit like that, giving them an opportunity of a home of their own, of being able to live off their own money, oh wow, maybe domestic abuse might PLUMMET because you'd have fewer of these women giving up and living with abusive men because it's that or being on the street.
posted by deadaluspark at 11:30 AM on June 8 [28 favorites]


If anyone is interested in some rando internet dude's opinion, here's my suggestion for improving policing across the nation (and beyond). I'll try (and probably fail) to keep it short by limiting it to bullet points, but this is something I've thought extensively about.
  • All sworn officers must complete a 4-year social work or counseling degree
    • These will be taxpayer funded programs with built-in requirements
  • All sworn officers must spend a minimum of 1-2 years in the local community before any law enforcement training or duties
    • This might be working with homeless populations, providing counseling, behavioral health crisis response, etc
    • Oversight/management at this stage will be done by an independent, civilian governing board
    • Officers will co-mingle only with others in this phase of the program
    • Officers will be expected to present a thesis argument at the end of this phase, documenting what they learned, what problems they saw out in the community, and what solutions they think might work
  • Once the community social work phase is over, officers will move on to law enforcement training
    • There will be an escape clause here for people who want to stay in the social work field
    • This training will emphasize the skills they learned in the previous phase
    • It will include significant emphasis on recognizing conscious/unconscious bias
    • Weapons training will emphasize non-lethal tactics and tools, emphasizing that even those are a last resort
    • Firearms will be limited to specific roles, approved by an independent civilian oversight committee
    • Discharging a firearm should be considered a failure of all other options, a solemn and terrible and rare thing
  • Continuing Education credits will be required to maintain focus and knowledge of evolving modalities and concepts from social work/counseling
    • This can feed into (taxpayer funded) licensing and advanced degrees for the officer
    • This is to provide an off-ramp for any officers who are becoming burnt out or simply wish to retire, giving them a very solid, post-law-enforcement career path
  • There will be no police unions

  • Instead, the police will belong to a nationwide organization, similar to the AFGE
    • This will provide union protections for pay, fair treatment, etc
    • This will not have any involvement in officer policy violations
So yeah, that's a lot and it's a lot of time, money, and effort. It would require us to pay these officers very well and hopefully would give people the chance to grow to respect the profession once more. The power-tripping bully types that law enforcement has long attracted will not want to deal with all of the "touchy-feely" requirements at the beginning, and even if they do and they make it all the way through, odds are they'll come out the other side better for it.

I'm sure there are a ton of flaws, but at this point the change has to be drastic to fit with how drastically fucked the system is right now.
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 11:31 AM on June 8 [9 favorites]


Biden campaign opposes calls to 'defund the police':
“As his criminal justice proposal made clear months ago, Vice President Biden does not believe that police should be defunded," Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates told reporters.

"He hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change, and is driven to ensure that justice is done and that we put a stop to this terrible pain," Bates added. "Biden supports the urgent need for reform — including funding for public schools, summer programs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment separate from funding for policing — so that officers can focus on the job of policing."
posted by Ouverture at 11:42 AM on June 8 [4 favorites]


so that officers can focus on the job of policing."

Cool, so they'll have more time to be the violent thugs they are.

Biden also wants to kill MeFi by completely removing Section 230.

Biden wrote the crime bill that fucking put us here with cops AND takes claim for writing the PATRIOT Act, too.

God damn it it should have been Sanders.

The country is literally tearing apart at the seams and the Democrats STILL don't want to address the very shit that could actually solve these problems.

Because they're making too much money from this fucking Casino and they don't want the money train to stop.

I say all this as someone who fully intends to vote for Biden because shits too crazy to not. I'm not going to stop criticizing him, however. He's not the right choice, full stop. He's the only choice we have.
posted by deadaluspark at 11:52 AM on June 8 [22 favorites]


Police (or ideally, the civilian safety officers who replace the abolished police) should be required to live in the municipality. 100%, no exceptions.

A community deserves to self-police. This isn't a matter of "what if officer so-and-so..." but "why should our community be policed by Johnny Outsider?"

A lot of the problems with policing have come about because of an us-versus-them mentality that is exacerbated by police thinking of their work environment as a "crime-ridden place" and their home as "safe." If they work in their home community, they're less likely to see it in those black-and-white terms.
posted by explosion at 11:52 AM on June 8 [4 favorites]


I mean obviously they must be keeping us safe, just like this rock that keeps tigers away.

It’s more like having a tiger who periodically bites you while assuring you that other tigers will get you if you ask your tiger to leave.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:53 AM on June 8 [10 favorites]


6/8/2020, 2:21pm:
“No announcements on that,” Kayleigh McEnany says on what Trump backs to reform police practices and says he’s looking at “various proposals.” She says Trump is “appalled” by the defund the police movement.
posted by Ouverture at 11:54 AM on June 8 [2 favorites]


He hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change,

My head is spinning from how fast "we see you" became the "thoughts and prayers" for liberals.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:54 AM on June 8 [9 favorites]


[totally understand people's frustrations but please do not turn this into a US-elections-by-proxy thread. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:56 AM on June 8 [5 favorites]


Biden is trying so hard to lose this election.
Polling from just a few days ago (see page 58) finds that cutting police funding is unpopular among Americans, among Democrats, and among all racial groups.
posted by kickingtheground at 11:58 AM on June 8 [5 favorites]


It is remarkable to see the most popular members of the two political parties at such stark odds with millions of people protesting in the street.

It also speaks to how little national electoralism matters in terms of addressing police violence and mass incarceration, which is materially experienced at the local level. In this particular dimension, Jackie Lacey has far more power over the lives of millions of people of color.

Who is Jackie Lacey? Exactly.
posted by Ouverture at 12:02 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


"He hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change"

Rahm Emmuanel uses microskills

Democratic politicians really are leaning into the use of microskills. They might be getting it from HR professionals, but the concept probably originated in therapy. Such microskills create the impression of empathy without committing the user to any particular position - very useful in fields such as therapy, advertising, and HR, which, after all, are concerned with changing and controlling human behavior.
posted by eagles123 at 12:02 PM on June 8 [6 favorites]


I'd wager that poll is based on the fact that most people don't realize that most cities are just a police department with some underfunded city services on the side.

Also, since the question doesn't say anything about what police will be replaced with, it leaves the reader to assume they will be replaced with nothing.

Biased question is biased.
posted by deadaluspark at 12:02 PM on June 8 [16 favorites]


> I'm just here to mention that the only city with these protests that got shit done was the one that took Direct Action and burned down a police precinct.

If you're becoming convinced that the shards of violence were the aspect of the protests that drove the change (rather than the protest itself, by the majority of protesters) then look into the work of Erica Chenoweth (whose research program was initially aimed, as I understand it, at setting out to prove to a group of non-violent activists that violence was necessary for change. She failed to do so and wound up with data proving the opposite, that non-violence works, and that violence works against success e.g., the graphic quoted here)
posted by spbmp at 12:07 PM on June 8 [7 favorites]


I can't believe there are people here saying nonviolent protest doesn't work. Incredible.
posted by biogeo at 12:14 PM on June 8


most people don't realize that most cities are just a police department with some underfunded city services on the side.

That chart omits spending on education, which is typically much higher than police spending. It'd be more appropriate to say that cities are schools with cops on the side.
posted by factory123 at 12:16 PM on June 8


I can't believe there are people here saying nonviolent protest doesn't work. Incredible.

What counts as nonviolent? Because I think a huge reason these protests are still going strong and spreading effectively across the world is the incredibly violent police response that has been caught on camera again and again and again.
posted by graventy at 12:26 PM on June 8 [8 favorites]


The chart for Baltimore City is based on the 2021 fiscal year, recommended. For police, $509,250,161. For public schools, $287,346,700. (Source.)
posted by XtinaS at 12:32 PM on June 8 [6 favorites]


Wow, cops get almost double what schools get. I'm shocked. /s
posted by deadaluspark at 12:37 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


Plus, one budget is constantly cut for austerity reasons. While the other constantly increases.
posted by graventy at 12:40 PM on June 8 [8 favorites]


Is the budget for the cops who are in schools part of the school budget or the police budget? That's what I'd like to know.

Because if its part of the school budget. Take that portion and put it over in the "police" section where it belongs.
posted by deadaluspark at 12:43 PM on June 8


Please, someone tell me there's a centralized data source for all of this already. I don't want to go and collate all that data, which I will do otherwise.
posted by XtinaS at 12:46 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


That chart omits spending on education, which is typically much higher than police spending. It'd be more appropriate to say that cities are schools with cops on the side.

Not to get too into the weeds, but how school funding works varies depending on your state/municipality. In some places, school districts have independent taxing authority (you put a levy to the voters, who vote it up or down); in other places, the district is under the control of another taxing authority like a city council (who votes a budget up or down). Funding can also come from multiple sources (e.g., state and federal funding will look a lot different from place to place), so throwing in education is going to make a lot of apples-to-oranges comparisons.

The linked example shows Baltimore; Baltimore City Schools, for example, gets the bulk of its funding from the state; local contributions were around $290 million, or, about 3/5 of what the city gives to police.

I will say where I am, we spend about 50% of our budget on schools, which is considered ridiculously low in my state; other districts are closer to 70%.
posted by damayanti at 12:46 PM on June 8




factory123: my arms thank you.
posted by XtinaS at 12:48 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


Nonviolent resistance (Wikipedia) -- "Nonviolent resistance (NVR or nonviolent action) is the practice of achieving goals such as social change through symbolic protests, civil disobedience, economic or political noncooperation, satyagraha, or other methods, while being nonviolent."

Nonviolent resistance (Erica Chenowith, Foreign Policy Magazine) -- "Nonviolent resistance is, in effect, a form of asymmetric warfare."

Remaining visibly nonviolent in the face of violent oppression is a classic tactic of nonviolent resistance, one used to great effect in the US civil rights movement of the '50s and '60s. Those links are a good starting point. The Wikipedia article has a number of links to further reading which should help clarify the question of what counts as nonviolent.
posted by biogeo at 12:51 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


Get Angry Then Get Free: The Political Necessity of Rioting in Dismantling the System (Joshua Virasami, Novara Media, Jun. 6, 2020, via LongReads)
“I cannot be an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope,” declares philosopher and revolutionary Cornel West. His speech on CNN in response to the George Floyd uprising is life-support in these harrowing but revolutionary times, where working people across the world are forced to endure the insufferable tyranny of a global downturn, a mishandled pandemic and increased state violence.

[...] The ferocity of mobilisation this time shows us not only that tensions are running high in global lockdown, but also speaks to the ubiquitous power of Black Lives Matter as a slogan, culture and movement. [...] I find it hard at times to be an optimist, but I look to the past, to the future, and see the power of will and I have hope. [...] Hope is the tens of thousands of people, young and old, who are introduced to political struggle in moments of crisis such as these. People who will bear witness to or experience state violence; people who will hunger for explanations for injustice and methods to achieve freedom; people who may become the revolutionaries the world so desperately needs.

[...] The Civil Right Bill of 1964, journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates writes,“is inseparable from the threat of riots. The housing bill of 1968 – the most proactive civil-rights legislation on the books – is a direct response to the riots that swept American cities after King was killed. Violence, lingering on the outside, often backed nonviolence during the civil-rights movement”. [...] Riots are the explosive culmination of a refusal to endure the violence of political, social and economic systems any longer: they are the unified voice of the disenfranchised proclaiming: things must change; the centre cannot hold. It’s a voice the public seldom hears, expressed through a medium they seldom try to understand. As the sound of working class anguish, riots are a reality that many people with two feet on the social ladder, would rather deny.

[...] Fred Hampton, an incredible Black Panther who died too young, at the hands of the police no less, left us an instructive mantra: “We’re going to fight racism not with racism, but we’re going to fight with solidarity”. Hampton is right; solidarity is the only way to defeat racism; through global solidarity but also solidarity between working class communities. [...] Celebrities, politicians and so-called progressives are flocking to the pulpit with demands to reform the police or build black economic power bases. To these demands, the second line of Fred Hampton’s above quote is very useful: “We say we’re not going to fight capitalism with black capitalism, but we’re going to fight it with socialism.”
posted by katra at 12:54 PM on June 8 [10 favorites]


I've been seeing mentions of the Peelian principles of policing by consent recently, and wow does this not sound like policing today:
These principles are:
  1. The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder
  2. The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions
  3. Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observance of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public
  4. The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force
  5. Police seek and preserve public favour not by pandering to public opinion but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law
  6. Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient
  7. Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence
  8. Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary
  9. The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it
posted by Lexica at 12:56 PM on June 8 [30 favorites]


[comment removed - in a difficult thread it may be best to just say what you mean and not wrap everything in not-always-understood sarcasm tags?]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:04 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


I've been seeing mentions of the Peelian principles of policing by consent recently, and wow does this not sound like policing today:

Broadly speaking, most of the time UK police forces attempt or aspire to police by consent of the public. The main difficulty they have had is a sometimes/often limited view of who their public is. Historically it has not included people from minority groups, strikers, sex workers or LGBTQ people. Opinions vary as to how well they are doing currently, but the statistics on eg arrest rates for black men, are not on their side. Alone, policing by consent is not enough.
posted by plonkee at 1:06 PM on June 8 [6 favorites]


... policing has ballooned out of control during the past 40 years, becoming a tool not just to combat crime but to deal with homelessness, mental illness and youth violence among other issues.
I'm so old I can remember when there were plans for Federal funding to help deal with mental illness and youth violence, which got scrapped by the Reagan Administration in the process of "getting Government off our backs." The off-the-back-getting didn't include dismantling a plan to deal with homelessness because that basically wasn't an issue before the community mental health funding got shitcanned.

The youth violence looks to have been largely a problem caused by environmental lead exposure: with the end of the use of lead in gasoline it has basically receded to pre-1960s levels of tolerability. That leaves mental health, which is curiously a factor in some large portion of unjustifiable police killings: basically, there are a lot of 911 calls where the dispatcher should be sending something other than armed response, except there aren't any other options. Or better, the calls shouldn't be happening in the first place because the people who are their subjects ought to be under some kind of supervision that would keep them out of easily-predicted trouble.

Reagan's first-term tax cuts basically destroyed the mechanisms that were supposed supposed to help people who for one reason or another can't function independently in modern society and transferred responsibility for them to the criminal justice system.
posted by Aardvark Cheeselog at 1:29 PM on June 8 [17 favorites]


I'm all for increasing mental health support and funding, but the pre-Reagan mental health system had huge problems too, in that a lot of people were institutionalized who didn't need to be institutionalized, and - fundamentally, I think that no matter how good you can make institutions, coercive institutionalization needs to be a last-resort option. We don't have to criminalize being mentally ill in public, unless you're a danger to yourself or others. I've seen more than one case of police brutality where the victim was not doing anything worse than acting weird, or having a hard time, until the police decided this was a problem they needed to do something about.
posted by Jeanne at 1:44 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


Ouverture: "[Biden] hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change, and is driven to ensure that justice is done and that we put a stop to this terrible pain," Bates added. "Biden supports the urgent need for reform — including funding for public schools, summer programs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment separate from funding for policing — so that officers can focus on the job of policing."

Bolded emphasis mine. Looking beyond the fact that Biden said this (for the sake of not making this about the 2020 election by proxy), this could be a way to start whittling away at police department budgets, where "defund the police" is not getting traction. "See, the police are stretched beyond what they're trained to do, so let's take that job away from them!" How can you disagree with that?

And from a budget side, I expect mental health and substance abuse treatment provided by non-police entities will be cheaper and more effective than putting these on the justice system.

[Don't remind me that the punishment is the purpose. I'm pretending that we could sway "tough on crime" conservatives away from thinking that substance abuse and mental health issues are worth treatment instead of punishment, and not something that can be solved by "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps" bullshit.]

And in case it wasn't clear that we can't wait for cops to reform themselves: Protests spread over police shootings. Police promised reforms. Every year, they still shoot and kill nearly 1,000 people. (Washington Post, June 8, 2020; MSN mirror)

Washington Post has been collecting statistics on police shootings since 2015 (Medium article on their process), and their statistics are twice that of FBI numbers, and with tons of details.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:46 PM on June 8 [6 favorites]


How can you disagree with that?

Because the statement also talks about more money for community policing, if they promise to hire POC. Which is profoundly not defunding the police.

If the three word easy-to-protest-with statement isn't well-liked by the public, then educate the public. Defund scares people because people have been told and told and told for years that police keep the wolves at bay. Explain what it means then poll them again.
posted by graventy at 2:25 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]




I just looked at Albany NY's 2020 budget. APD is a shade over $54.2M out of a budget just over 181M,

That's almost 30%.
posted by mikelieman at 2:44 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


Excluding the schools budget of 260 million.
posted by factory123 at 2:53 PM on June 8


Excluding the schools budget of 260 million.

I didn't even think about that. I don't know how accepted that is, but to me, education is a lockbox, and I don't begrudge ACSD one cent and I'm happy it's a separate balance sheet.

Way I see it, there's a portion of a 54 million dollar pot to redistribute to other social service programs.
posted by mikelieman at 3:02 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


Without knowing the amount of money required to educate X population of students compared to the amount required to police X population of people, this discussion is pointless. From personal experience living in Baltimore City, I can tell you that two years ago the city schools shut down during the winter because their heating systems were unable to adequately heat the buildings due to lack of repair. The police, meanwhile, always seem to drive around in modern, scary looking cars and have the latest equipment. That doesn't prevent the morning sports radio call in show from taking shots at the schools - both the hosts are former cops.
posted by eagles123 at 3:28 PM on June 8 [12 favorites]


I'm just here to mention that the only city with these protests that got shit done was the one that took Direct Action and burned down a police precinct.

The thing that completely shifted the media narrative here in Miami was protesters defending a fucking CVS against the small subset that was intent on breaking shit.

That said, it's entirely possible it would have gone completely unnoticed without the backdrop of a burned police precinct, so I'm not going to say it wasn't necessary or helpful.
posted by wierdo at 3:59 PM on June 8


every time i hear a politician say "i hear you," i think of this.
posted by entropicamericana at 4:03 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


Born and raised in Minneapolis, living across the river in St. Paul for a year now. MAN, you guys, we are ready for some change. I think a new system IS possible. I really, really do. I keep imagining an alternate world in which Chauvin approaches George Floyd and says, “Hey man. I heard there have been some fake bills going around. Here, you take this $20 and I’ll get rid of the counterfeit for you. Have a good night.” I can’t stop daydreaming about this scenario. Can you imagine?

I made the mistake of reading the comments section of the Daily Wire today (never again). Every single comment was a fierce critique (to put it nicely) of the changes happening here. I want to prove those people wrong.

Black Lives Matter. Now and forever.
posted by sucre at 4:15 PM on June 8 [16 favorites]


One idea that I've only really seen once, and then not anywhere else, was requiring malpractice insurance or something similar on police. If this is an unfeasible solution, and I didn't see the debunking of it, I'm all ears. Obviously, it's not great to try to fix a broken system by pushing it into a an exploitative and profiteering system, but damn, it seemed interesting.

The gist is that, given how many industries require malpractice insurance, why wouldn't police, who by fucking up and doing their job in reckless and dangerous ways, also need insurance to continue to do the work they do? If a surgeon, or even a nail salon worker needs insurance in order to work, why not cops? Have the insurance tied directly to the cop, so that every time they've done something against regulations, or something that ends in a settlement or court finding them to have been guilty of malpractice, their premium goes up. At some point, a violent cop would find their insurance premium so high that the police department could no longer justify paying it to keep the cop on the job. This could help end the current whack a mole bullshit where a cop fired for murdering a black person in one department has the red carpet rolled out for them at another department (if I recall, the cop who killed Tamir Rice was offered another job in a Cleveland suburb, which was only rescinded due to public outrage). With premiums high enough due to repeated violations of conduct codes, cops would literally become unemployable.

I'm certainly no fan of American insurance schemes, but if departments have shown themselves to be unwilling to change or to even enforce their own codes of conduct, why let them continue to be the arbiter of these things?
posted by Ghidorah at 4:47 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


How Do We Change America? (Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, New Yorker)
We cannot allow the current momentum to be stalled by a narrow discussion about reforming the police.

[...] The protests are building on the incredible groundwork of a previous iteration of the Black Lives Matter movement. Today, young white people are compelled to protest not only because of their anxieties about the instability of this country and their compromised futures in it but also because of a revulsion against white supremacy and the rot of racism. Their outlooks have been shaped during the past several years by the anti-racist politics of the B.L.M. movement, which move beyond seeing racism as interpersonal or attitudinal, to understanding that it is deeply rooted in the country’s institutions and organizations.

This may account, in part, for the firm political foundation that this round of struggle has begun upon. It explains why activists and organizers have so quickly been able to gather support for demands to defund police, and in some cases introduce ideas about ending policing altogether. They have been able to quickly link bloated police budgets to the attacks on other aspects of the public sector, and to the limits on cities’ abilities to attend to the social crises that have been exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. They have built upon the vivid memories of previous failures, and refuse to submit to empty or rhetoric-driven calls for change. This is evidence again of how struggles build upon one another and are not just recycled events from the past.
posted by katra at 4:58 PM on June 8 [9 favorites]


They key moment behind my "defund" feelings comes from the incident in Buffalo where some riot cops pushed an old man to the ground and cracked his head open.

When the officers were suspended, almost all the other cops on the riot team resigned from that team, because in their view, these guys were being punished for doing their job and following orders. (and then over a hundred other cops andd firefighters demonstrated in support of the suspended officers.)

And for me that raises the question, what the hell job do they think they're doing??? How did they come to believe that their orders required them to nearly kill a frail old man? And that's not just a flip question, because it's also one of the legal principles underlying qualified immunity - that cops are "acting within the scope of their employment." That's the defense every time a cop kills someone on the job. But why? Why is killing people a part of their job?

So to me that was a real tip of the iceberg question - what job do the police think they're doing? What job do we want them to be doing? - and it's why I think that any reform will just scratch the surface. Hiring different and better cops, training them better, more accountability, whatever. Accountability won't work when cops and prosecutors believe that violence and brutality are part of the job description. You can't train people to do the job differently unless you change the nature of the job itself.

And if the fundamental nature of the job is about violence and domination (or if police believe so) then the job will attract bullies, and turn people into bullies. That's what it means to say All Cops Are Bastards - the job itself is bastardly.

Eliminating police violence, or at least removing it's state sanction, means asking seriously the question, What job do we want the cops to be doing? It means changing what cops believe their job is. It means redefining and reprioritizing their efforts. And I don't think that can be done without a radical, root-and-branch break in continuity, because otherwise the workplace culture keeps reproducing itself. So yeah.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 6:23 PM on June 8 [43 favorites]


The answer to police violence is not 'reform'. It's defunding. Here's why (Alex S Vitale, Guardian Opinion, May 31, 2020)
[...] Minneapolis implemented a series of training programs designed to professionalize policing in the hopes that it would reduce abuses that might trigger more protests. Officers were trained in how to respond to mental health crisis calls, how to de-escalate confrontations with the public, how to be “mindful” in dangerous circumstances, and how to be more self-aware of their implicit racial bias. In 2018, the department even wrote a report, Focusing on Procedural Justice Internally and Externally, to highlight the broad range of procedural reforms they had implemented.

None of it worked. [...] The alternative is not more money for police training programs, hardware or oversight. It is to dramatically shrink their function. We must demand that local politicians develop non-police solutions to the problems poor people face. We must invest in housing, employment and healthcare in ways that directly target the problems of public safety. Instead of criminalizing homelessness, we need publicly financed supportive housing; instead of gang units, we need community-based anti-violence programs, trauma services and jobs for young people; instead of school police we need more counselors, after-school programs, and restorative justice programs. [...] The Minneapolis police department currently uses up to 30% of the entire city budget. Instead of giving them more money for pointless training programs, let’s divert that money into building up communities and individuals so we don’t “need” violent and abusive policing.
posted by katra at 6:44 PM on June 8 [11 favorites]


The Best Way to “Reform” the Police Is to Defund the Police (An interview with Alex S. Vitale, Jacobin, Jun. 3, 2020)
Jacobin’s Meagan Day spoke to Alex Vitale, professor of sociology and coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College and author of The End of Policing, about the mass demonstrations underway and the political experiences and ideas that are animating it.
MD: It’s so strange and unexpected to see a resurgence of protests against police brutality in this moment, of all moments, with the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing and much of the nation still theoretically in coronavirus-related lockdown. I didn’t even expect to see people protesting the inadequate coronavirus response en masse, much less protesting racist police violence. How can we make sense of this?

AV: It is kind of shocking. I also assumed that the social distancing imperatives would dramatically curtail street protest. But I think we’re in a moment of profound crisis that goes far beyond policing, and that the coronavirus crisis and the coming economic depression are part of what’s driving this. It’s the convergence of a bunch of different factors. Completely unreformed brutal policing is just the catalyst that has unleashed a kind of generational activism that’s responding to a deeper crisis, which policing is part of and emblematic of. [...] I think what we’re seeing is the residuum of Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and the Sanders campaign, movements united by a sense that our basic economic system is not working. Even people who don’t personally experience police violence see a future of economic and environmental collapse and are terrified and angry. If we had a booming economy, it would mute this. If we had credible leadership in Washington, it would mute this. But not only is Trump in the White House, I don’t think that anyone believes Biden is going to fix it.

When we think about the urban uprisings of the 1960s, we don’t think of them as being solely about policing. We understand that policing incidents were a trigger, but that they were a response to a deep problem of racial and economic inequality in America.
posted by katra at 7:21 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


Before George Floyd’s Death, Minneapolis Police Failed to Adopt Reforms, Remove Bad Officers -- The department allows officers to use choke holds barred in other cities. (Jamiles Lartey and Simone Weichselbaum for The Marshall Project)

Before the nation grieved for George Floyd, we mourned Philando Castile in 2016 (Wikipedia), and Minnesota said there would be reform in police. Now we're here, again. Why?
The Marshall Project analyzed police reform efforts in the city and throughout Minnesota to understand why change has been so slow across the predominantly white state. Police accountability experts, court documents, stalled state legislation and a 2015 report by the U.S. Justice Department about policing in Minneapolis all point to a clear pattern: Even as officials have made some changes, law enforcement agencies have lacked either the authority or the will to discipline and remove bad officers from patrol. They have also failed to set clear criteria on the use of force and de-escalation.

The Minneapolis Police Department failed to fully adopt changes recommended by federal officials to weed out bad cops, local critics said. At least two of the officers involved in Floyd’s fatal encounter, including the officer who knelt on his neck, had complaints filed against them in the past. At the same time, the department continued to use choke holds, allowing the controversial practice in some circumstances—even as an option for lethal force.
Fans of the "tough on crime" bullshit love "three strikes laws" (Wikipedia) for "violent offenders." Imagine if the same scrutiny and severity was enforced for police? Meanwhile, A Florida police group says cops charged in Atlanta or mad in Buffalo should come on down (Miami Herald).
To Atlanta officers charged with using excessive force last week and Buffalo police officers who resigned from their unit after two were disciplined for injuring a 75-year-old man, a Brevard County police organization says they’d be welcome in that part of Florida.

That’s what the Brevard County Fraternal Order of Police said on its Facebook page over the weekend before removing that post and another Monday morning.

By that point, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey had responded on Facebook, calling the FOP posts “extremely distasteful and insensitive to current important and critical issues that are occurring across our country.”

Satellite Beach police, Cocoa Beach police and the city of Rockledge also used Facebook to say, as Ivey did, that FOP neither recruits for nor speaks for his agency. Brevard FOP represents officers with various agencies and Local No. 37 President, Brevard Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Bert Gamin, has been with the department for 26 years.

Florida Today reported that a Gamin email to the newspaper defended the posts as well as the Buffalo and Atlanta officers disciplined.
[...]
Saturday’s FOP Facebook post, pinned to the top of the union’s page before being removed Monday, said “Hey Buffalo 57... and Atlanta 6... we are hiring in Florida. Lower taxes, no spineless leadership, or dumb mayors rambling on at press conferences... Plus... we got your back!”
[...]
Again, the comments generally didn’t share the FOP’s sympathies.

“Thank you for giving us more of a reason to disband the police force.”
May these truly be the tides of change.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:09 PM on June 8 [9 favorites]


Well one reform that could be done quickly and would absolutely have an effect would be to Disarm the Police.
posted by medusa at 9:01 PM on June 8 [9 favorites]


How Much Do We Need The Police? (NPR, Jun. 3, 2020)
So it seems like a good moment to talk to Alex S. Vitale.
Part of our misunderstanding about the nature of policing is we keep imagining that we can turn police into social workers. That we can make them nice, friendly community outreach workers. But police are violence workers. That's what distinguishes them from all other government functions. ... They have the legal capacity to use violence in situations where the average citizen would be arrested.

So when we turn a problem over to the police to manage, there will be violence, because those are ultimately the tools that they are most equipped to utilize: handcuffs, threats, guns, arrests. That's what really is at the root of policing. So if we don't want violence, we should try to figure out how to not get the police involved.
posted by katra at 9:24 PM on June 8 [12 favorites]


people should think carefully about how they spend political capitals

For the most part I don't believe this metaphor works. For person-to-person legislative favor-trading, sure, yes. But for mass protests? The 'spending' is the realization is the growth of power, usually. Political capital is having butts off the couch. Results breed action, and if the results aren't your results maybe you can work with the action.
posted by away for regrooving at 1:08 AM on June 9 [3 favorites]


While Crime Fell, the Cost of Cops Soared - "America's policing budget has almost tripled since 1977 to $115 billion... Despite the rising dollar amounts, policing has consistently made up about 3.7% of state and local budgets since the 1970s. However, crime has been trending downward for years: Violent crime and property crime have fallen significantly since the early 1990s, according to U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics data."

Police Spending Soars at the Federal Level - "Spending on state‐​local police rose as a share of GDP from 1990 to 2010 but has declined since then. Spending as a share of GDP is about one‐​third higher today than in the 1980s. Meanwhile, federal police spending has skyrocketed from 0.05 percent of GDP in the 1980s, on average, to 0.26 percent over the past decade. As a share of GDP, federal police spending has quadrupled since the 1980s and doubled since the 1990s. This mainly includes spending on federal functions such as the FBI, but also includes relatively small amounts for grants to state‐​local police agencies."

America's Criminal Justice System Is Rotten to the Core - "As I will explain below, I see three fundamental pathologies in America's criminal justice system that completely undermine its moral and political legitimacy and render it a menace to the very concept of constitutionally limited government. Those three pathologies are: (1) unconstitutional overcriminalization; (2) point‐​and‐​convict adjudication; and (3) near‐​zero accountability for police and prosecutors."[*]

---
[*]American Gangster: "You know, I don't think they want this to stop. I think it employs too many people. Judges, lawyers, cops, politicians, prison guards, probation officers. They stop bringing dope into this country, about 100,000 people are going to be out of a job."
posted by kliuless at 3:04 AM on June 9 [6 favorites]


Abolishing the police is possible, if we make it happen. Instead of 8 Can't Wait, #8toAbolition does more than put a bandage on police. The whole system must be torn out from the roots, and now that even liberals like John Oliver are explaining that it's possible, we all have to entertain that idea.

Now, as a socialist, I believe that part of the reason from the racist, violent police force is because our entire socio-political system is predicated on the protection of private property. Any police restructuring will have limited success unless the capitalist edifice is also removed. But let's just look at the possibilities of a post-police world, and how it could be structured:

Sheriff: Would be the lead court officer to enforce judicial judgments such as warrants and arrests. This person would not have powers of patrol or general arrest but instead would be an arm of the judicial system. They would maintain a jail, for temporary holding of persons, but even that would be for momentary safety, not punishment (prison abolition goes hand in hand). When required for duties, a sheriff would be able to temporarily deputize community members to assist. This role of sheriff is one of the court, not of the police. No tanks, no assault rifles, no massive army, no powers of patrol and arbitrary arrest. They stay in the station unless needed by the court.

Security Officer: This would be a position appointed by a city council to organize security in a community as needed. They appoint a few folks to different positions:

The Watch: When required, the security officer would be able to call community members for patrols in case of special events (e.g. parades) or an increase in violent crime. Like jury duty or ancient nightwatches, these security patrols would be stood up by random citizens. They will almost be unarmed, though they will have access to firearms in emergency situations. Their ability to detain people will be greatly limited, and any true arrest will have to be done by the sheriff or one of their temporary deputies. Their duties are to preserve peace and protect people, not to treat folks as criminals (even if they are) and their powers reflect this.

During periods of intense crisis such as an active shooter or an attack by an armed group (say, the KKK organizing and attacking the town), the security officer will direct a General Watch that will arm themselves at the community armory to respond to a crisis.

Investigators: The Security Officer will also appoint a team of permanent, professional criminal investigators whose skills in forensic science allows them to effectively solve crime and inform the court of their findings, which can be used to adjudicate or allow arrests. While these professionals are skilled experts, they're not police, they do not carry guns, and their job is to determined what happened, not to exact punishment.

There, all the "hard" duties of the police have now been split up and greatly controlled. Anything else that they used to do? You see someone screaming at a bridge? Call in CAHOOTS or something much like it. You see someone throwing a rock at a window? It's not a big deal, but take a picture and report it to the security office for future investigation. You see someone walking their dog? Mind your own business. We need a community that allows people to usually mind their own business. This is of course just one solution that will allow an end to policing as we know it and to truly have an unpoliced society. I'd like to think we have the imagination for the task.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 5:38 AM on June 9 [6 favorites]


Why filming police violence has done nothing to stop it -- After years of police body cams and bystander cellphone video, it’s clear that evidentiary images on their own don’t bring about change. What’s missing is power. (Ethan Zuckerman for MIT Technology Review, June 3, 2020) -- [Tech Review articles are limited to 3 views per month]
After Castile’s death, I wrote a piece for MIT Technology Review about “sousveillance,” the idea posited by the inventor Steve Mann, the “father of wearable computing,” that connected cameras controlled by citizens could be used to hold power accountable. Even though bystander video of Eric Garner being choked to death by New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo in 2014 had led not to Pantaleo’s indictment but to the arrest of Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed the murder, I offered my hope that “the ubiquity of cell-phone cameras combined with video streaming services like Periscope, YouTube, and Facebook Live has set the stage for citizens to hold the police responsible for excessive use of force.”

I was wrong.
[...]
A large study (PDF) in 2017 by the Washington, DC, mayor’s office assigned more than a thousand police officers in the District to wear body cameras and more than a thousand to go camera-free. The researchers hoped to find evidence that wearing cameras correlated with better policing, less use of force, and fewer civilian complaints. They found none: the difference in behavior between the officers who knew they were being watched and the officers who knew they were not was statistically insignificant.
[...]
If there’s one thing that Americans—particularly people of color in America—have learned from George Floyd, Philando Castile, and Eric Garner, it’s that individuals armed with images are largely powerless to make systemic change.

That’s the reason people have taken to the streets in Minneapolis, DC, New York, and so many other cities. There’s one thing images of police brutality seem to have the power to do: shock, outrage, and mobilize people to demand systemic change. That alone is the reason to keep filming.
The article also notes that instead of video holding police culpable, it has been used by the polices' defense to show how threatened and scary the situations can appear to cops, allowing killer cops to go free. That's probably why Derek Chauvin looked directly into a camera while he was killing George Floyd. Who's going to convict a white cop of doing anything more than his "duty" to stop a black man from using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes.

Technology will not change police, and it will not save black and brown people from murderous racists, or anyone from power-tripping cops who think they're they're the "thin blue line between civility and chaos," justifying their use of fatal force, again and again.

Defunding police is sounding better and better.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:30 AM on June 9 [7 favorites]


Here is a thread reader link to a twitter thread about those suspicious new Black Panthers that showed up in Atlanta. There is a lot of weird stuff happening in protests around the country. Suspicious organizers are running amok.
posted by gucci mane at 10:33 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]


74% of Americans support the protests. 69% believe that George Floyd being killed represents a larger problem in law enforcement -- 6 years ago, only 43% of Americans described police killings as part of a wider problem (vs. an isolated incident). Washington Post reporting on a Washington Post-Schar poll.
posted by Margalo Epps at 10:57 AM on June 9 [9 favorites]


Minneapolis Had This Coming, Justin Ellis, The Atlantic
My hometown faces a reckoning, not just a rebuilding. Social scientists have tried to parse this in the past. Samuel Myers Jr., the director of the Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice at the University of Minnesota, coined the term “the Minnesota paradox” in 2018 in analyzing racial disparities and the state’s inability to address its legacy of discrimination. In his book co-authored with Inhyuck Ha, Race Neutrality: Rationalizing Remedies to Racial Inequality, Myers wrote: “The overwhelming sentiment among residents of Minnesota is one of alarm and concern about these racial disparities but reluctance to attribute these disparities to systemic discrimination or racism.”

Growing up, I just took it as a fact that black folks lived only in specific slices of north and south Minneapolis; I simply had to look at where different family members lived. When you’re born into redlining, it has a way of making you believe that neighborhoods are the natural outcome of residents having a job and paying bills on time, not racism built through governments and banks and developers acting hand in hand.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:56 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]


‘Fight for my brother.’ As George Floyd is laid to rest, his family implores the nation to continue quest for justice (WaPo / MSN reprint)
George Perry Floyd Jr. was buried next to his mother here on Tuesday, taking his final resting place in the city where he was raised. It marked the end of his body's physical journey after police killed him on a Minneapolis street corner two weeks earlier, but it also signaled the acceleration of a movement for social justice that will forever bear his name.

The final words in tribute to the 46-year-old father, friend and brother were a recommitment by those who knew him — and now millions who know of him — to turn against racism. Speaker after speaker at his funeral Tuesday afternoon implored America to move from indifference to healing, from fear to courage and from mistrust to unity. They want to ensure Floyd’s life was not lost in vain.

[...] Floyd was the oldest of five siblings, and his family begged of the world just one thing: “Fight for my brother.” If the past two weeks are any indication, that fight has been taken up by countless Americans, as protests spread from the streets of Minneapolis to cities across the country and even the globe. Demonstrators of all kinds have implored a rebirth of the Black Lives Matter movement and a reckoning of how police treat black citizens, with some cities vowing to completely overhaul — or even disband — their police departments.
posted by katra at 4:01 PM on June 9 [4 favorites]


Verso Books has just made Alex Vitale's The End of Policing available as as a free ebook download, in addition to David Correia and Tyler Wall's Police: A Field Guide.
posted by Numenius at 8:35 PM on June 9 [8 favorites]


> What’s missing is power.

Spending So Much on Police Has Real Downsides - "Budgets for law enforcement reflect political power, not a need to deal with record low crime rates."

about policing: "A lot of people know Nobel Prize-winning economist Elinor Ostrom from her work on the commons.[1,2,3] But many might not know that some of her first research in the 1970s on policing. It can inform the reform vs. defunding debate, with some clear empirical findings."
...Ostrom was approached by some of her Black students, who asked her why she was studying white neighborhoods, when the issue of policing was so important to Black communities. Ostrom listened... Working with her Black students, she compared Black neighborhoods in Chicago and small cities. The police in Chicago received 14 times as much funding as those they studied in small cities. What they found was pretty interesting: “But despite the huge difference in spending, we found that in general the citizens living in the small cities received the same or higher levels of services compared to the residents in Chicago.”

[...]

As she concluded in her autobiographical reflections published shortly before she died in 2012: [A Long Polycentric Journey] in small communities with small police forces, citizens are more active in community safety. Officers in smaller police forces also have more knowledge of the local area & more trust from people. This finding became a crucial step in Ostrom’s groundbreaking work on how communities manage their resources sustainability without outside help – through deliberation, resolving conflict, and setting clear community agreements. This is what she ended up becoming famous for. But her research on policing shouldn’t be forgotten: it shows that, when it comes to safer communities, funding or size of services is not important. What’s important is the connections and trust between the community and the service provider.
> Growing up, I just took it as a fact that black folks lived only in specific slices of north and south Minneapolis... When you’re born into redlining, it has a way of making you believe that neighborhoods are the natural outcome of residents having a job and paying bills on time, not racism built through governments and banks and developers acting hand in hand.

Dust in the Light - "In 2016, a blogger named Lew Blank observed that the racial distribution of Madison neighborhoods formed a crescent... Once you see the crescent, you can't unsee it. And, relatedly, you can't escape the impact on Madison. In 2018 African Americans made up 7% of the population but 43% of arrests and 46% of Dane County Jail inmates... The pattern is even worse in Milwaukee, Wisconsin's largest city, and the most segregated city in the country; small wonder that Wisconsin ranks so highly when it comes to the disparity between black and white median household income... The one state competing with Wisconsin for the highest measurements of disparity is the neighbor to the west: Minnesota."
While red-lining helped shape segregation in many cities, Minneapolis was pre-emptive about its discrimination; beginning in the 1910s Minneapolis real estate deeds started to include “Covenants” that explicitly excluded African Americans. A team from the University of Minnesota has been researching real estate deeds to uncover these covenants, and created this striking time-lapse of their spread...

Racial covenants were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1948, but the effect remains; compare the racial covenant map to the racial dot map Blank referenced above — the blue (which is white people) adheres to the blue of racial covenants... That red cross, meanwhile, is the location of the homicide of George Floyd, in the decidedly non-blue portion of the map.
posted by kliuless at 4:09 AM on June 10 [5 favorites]


Joe Biden:
While I do not believe federal dollars should go to police departments that are violating people’s rights or turning to violence as the first resort, I do not support defunding police. The better answer is to give police departments the resources they need to implement meaningful reforms, and to condition other federal dollars on completing those reforms.

I’ve long been a firm believer in the power of community policing—getting cops out of their cruisers and building relationships with the people and the communities they are there to serve and protect. That’s why I’m proposing an additional $300 million to reinvigorate community policing in our country. Every single police department should have the money they need to institute real reforms like adopting a national use of force standard, buying body cameras, and recruiting more diverse police officers.
posted by Ouverture at 8:57 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


That seems like the mainstream Democratic position and if there's one thing you can say about Biden it's that he usually hews to the mainstream Democratic position. Is there any major national figure who has gone full defund the police rhetorically?

Warren, Harris, all the other significant VP candidates (whose positions are public, I don't know what Abrams' position is) are basically saying the same things. Hell, Sanders is going further right than Biden in some ways by pushing for increased pay for cops which I give a bit of side-eye.

We'll see what the House passes but they seem unlikely to me to go that much further.
posted by Justinian at 9:35 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


Happily, what Biden thinks doesn't actually matter in this case, since the organization of public safety functions is up to cities and counties for the most part and states to a smaller degree.
posted by wierdo at 9:52 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


And really all he needs to do is sign whatever legislation can make it through the legislature.

He can propose spending more Federal dollars to police but if something that defunds them, removes QI, etc. etc. lands in front of him I seriously doubt he'd veto the thing.

If by some miracle dems hold the house and flip the senate my hope is that most of Biden's presidency boils down to, "Okay Boomer, whatever, just sign this and you can have your pudding now."
posted by VTX at 10:29 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


That’s why I’m proposing an additional $300 million to reinvigorate community policing in our country.

Actually laughing out loud about this.

Imagine that the problem was we needed funding for new programs. $300 million for the whole nation? So that's what, $1 million for the 300 largest cities? Once?

Not only is it the opposite of what people are demanding it's also just not an effective policy!!!!
posted by dis_integration at 10:59 AM on June 10 [8 favorites]


Imagine that the problem was we needed funding for new programs. $300 million for the whole nation? So that's what, $1 million for the 300 largest cities? Once?

It's almost exactly "If every U.S. citizen tipped their local cop $1, they'd be able to figure out how not to kill Black people."
posted by Etrigan at 11:26 AM on June 10 [15 favorites]


classic biden
posted by entropicamericana at 2:57 PM on June 10


Joe Biden: Not only is it the opposite of what people are demanding it's also just not an effective policy!!!!

Trump’s MAGA base finds its own rallying cry: Defend the police (Politico)
Trump’s most fervent supporters view the notion of slashing resources to law enforcement as an attack on a core belief.
posted by katra at 3:08 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]


If you're not sure why that is, take a look at the polling in this huffpost article. If tl;dr I'll sum it up. "Defund the Police" polls at:

14% Strongly Support, 15% Somewhat Support, 16% Somewhat Oppose, 45% Strongly Oppose, 11% Unsure.

That's about as wide a spread as you're likely to see on basically any issue. Mandatory Root Canals might get 45% Strongly Oppose I guess. In any case, coming out in favor of it for Biden or any other national candidate is basically snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. That's separate from its merits as a policy. But if you don't win, you don't implement policy at all.

Sure, you can say that people misunderstand what "Defund the Police" means and while you're explaining that they're mistaken the election is already over and the fascists have won and the cops are standing on your face forever.
posted by Justinian at 5:07 PM on June 10 [8 favorites]


(though I note that they also asked people if they understood that it meant reducing the size of the force or the scope of its work rather than abolishing it completely and 61% of respondents already knew that, so explaining that isn't gonna move the numbers that much.)
posted by Justinian at 5:09 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]


Sure, you can say that people misunderstand what "Defund the Police" means and while you're explaining that they're mistaken the election is already over and the fascists have won and the cops are standing on your face forever.

I'd really recommend you listen to black and brown people discussing their experiences with policing and incarceration because the apocalyptic scenario you are describing has already been our way of life for decades.
posted by Ouverture at 5:29 PM on June 10 [13 favorites]


Community Control Vs. Defunding the Police: A Critical Analysis:
Defunding the police will not abolish the police. Far from purging classism, racism and patriarchy from its ranks, defunding the police is likely to bring them back in their purest form and with a vengeance.

Most importantly, defunding the police does not shift power into the hands of Black working class communities, particularly women and LGBTQ folks.
This position resonates more with me in terms of an argument against defunding the police.
posted by Ouverture at 6:17 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]


YouGov/Economist poll taken June 7-9 shows (see p. 77) 22% approve vs 58% oppose cutting funding. Among registered voters, 24% approve, 60% oppose. No demographic groups show majority support for defunding the police.

The older you get, the more monolithic opposition to defunding becomes: of those age 65+, 7% support vs 75% oppose cutting funding. Compare that with the lukewarm support among 18-29 year olds (41/39 favor/oppose).

Given the demographics of voting, it's not hard to see how "defund the police" helps Trump.
posted by factory123 at 12:06 AM on June 11


That's about as wide a spread as you're likely to see on basically any issue.

How wide was the spread on "Defund the Police" a year ago? How wide was it two months ago?

Or was it so ridiculous an idea that no one even bothered polling it, and now, after approximately two weeks, it's already polling at 29% support?

How wide a spread will there be in two more weeks? In two more months? In November?
posted by Etrigan at 6:21 AM on June 11 [5 favorites]


The police already have a tried and tested method of dealing with budget cuts. They simply steal shit from the public under the guise of civil asset forfeiture. It's to the point that many departments issue "ERAD" machines so they can drain debit cards and many gift cards on the spot with no oversight or accountability.

See, friend, only drug dealers and terrorists would have any reason to carry around a prepaid card and a couple of gift cards.
posted by wierdo at 6:49 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


YouGov/Economist poll taken June 7-9 shows (see p. 77) 22% approve vs 58% oppose cutting funding. Among registered voters, 24% approve, 60% oppose. No demographic groups show majority support for defunding the police.

For this question:
Here are some things that have been proposed to reduce deadly force encounters involving the police. Which of these do you favor or oppose?

Cut funding for police departments
There is plurality support among Black respondents: 39% in favor, 33% oppose, 28% not sure. There is similar plurality support among those that identify as liberal (as opposed to liberal or conservative): 42% in favor, 36% oppose, 22% not sure. Moderates were pretty strongly opposed: only 20% favored defunding compared to 57% opposition.

For a sense of scale: The same poll asked about reparations, which Black respondents favored 55-27 and liberal respondents favored 42-28. Again moderates were strongly opposed: only 20% in favor compared to 58% opposition.

Because policing is primarily a state and local issue, it is not necessary for this issue to reach majority support nationally before change can happen. That would be ideal, of course, but substantial progress can be made by defunding the police in individual cities, counties, and states.
posted by jedicus at 7:20 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


How wide was the spread on "Defund the Police" a year ago? How wide was it two months ago?

Similarly:
Public opinion on race and criminal justice issues has been steadily moving left since the first protests ignited over the fatal shootings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. And since the death of George Floyd in police custody on May 25, public opinion on race, criminal justice and the Black Lives Matter movement has leaped leftward.

Over the last two weeks, support for Black Lives Matter increased by nearly as much as it had over the previous two years, according to data from Civiqs, an online survey research firm. By a 28-point margin, Civiqs finds that a majority of American voters support the movement, up from a 17-point margin before the most recent wave of protests began.
Should the mid-century civil rights movement have waited until the polling was in their favor before they made their demands? Is that really how change is created?
posted by Ouverture at 8:15 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


As a point of comparison, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had support by a virtual 2:1 margin (58% to 31%). That level of support is much more similar to boring normie reforms such as banning chokeholds and requiring de-escalation - the sorts of reforms promulgated not just by Joe Biden but also by (notable non-defunder) Bernie Sanders.

The risk is that defunding is so unpopular that it will mobilize more republicans than democrats. I am mindful of the precedents of Nixon's 1968 law and order campaign and W's 2004 campaign in favor of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. There's only a slim plurality in the black population which favors cutting funding and the Hispanic population is majority opposed to cuts (51/21).

And on some level I think those low levels of support undermine the righteousness of the cause - is this really what the affected populations want?
posted by factory123 at 10:07 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


Isn't this a gift to Biden, too? Doesn't every candidate have to "pivot to the center" at some point? This gives Biden the chance to pivot, to reassure "moderates" that he's not one of those Democrats, without changing a single one of his policy platforms.
posted by clawsoon at 10:21 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


As a point of comparison, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had support by a virtual 2:1 margin (58% to 31%).

A very reassuring figure. Do you happen to have the numbers on how many Black people were murdered between 1964 and 1936, when Franklin Roosevelt explicitly told his party not to push a federal anti-lynching law for fear it would damage his election chances?
posted by Etrigan at 11:13 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


64 deaths by lynching, according to the Tuskegee Institute data. How many lives have been lost to Richard Nixon's war on drugs? To W's reelection and the continuation of the Iraq War?

Tradeoffs suck, but they are absolutely real.
posted by factory123 at 12:04 PM on June 11


How many lives have been lost to Richard Nixon's war on drugs?

Breonna Taylor's life was absolutely lost to the so-called "war on drugs," because the home invasion no-knock warrant that resulted in her murder was allegedly supposed to catch a drug dealer.
posted by Gelatin at 12:15 PM on June 11 [5 favorites]


#8CantWait Won't Change the Police, Says Human Rights Watch:
“The #8CantWait policing program is so superficial as to be meaningless,” John Raphling, criminal legal system researcher for Human Rights Watch, said in a press release. “It allows mayors and police chiefs to say they’re doing something without actually making the changes that are needed.” Raphling calls such a campaign a “dangerous distraction” and “empty words.” To that point, the Mayor of Tampa boasted last week that the city’s police department already follows #8CantWait’s policies on the same day the Tampa Bay Times reported that police attacked largely peaceful protesters with smoke, gas, and non-lethal bullets.

“I haven’t seen specific campaigns like this that have generated this type of attention,” Raphling told Gizmodo via email. “But, it fits a pattern of distracting from more fundamental reforms by offering superficial changes. For example, changing the wording of the standard from ‘reasonable’ to ‘necessary,’ (California AB 392) doesn’t really change police behavior, just what they have to say to justify their actions.” Last year, following a rash of police shootings of unarmed citizens, California passed the Act to Save Lives, which raised the legal justification for deadly force to “only when necessary in defense of human life.”
posted by Ouverture at 12:53 PM on June 11 [4 favorites]


As a point of comparison, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had support by a virtual 2:1 margin (58% to 31%).

From the very article you listed:
But while the public supported civil rights legislation conceptually, they expressed concerns about the pace of its implementation. Indeed, although most supported the new civil rights law soon after it was passed, a national Opinion Research Corporation poll showed 68% of Americans wanting to see moderation in its enforcement, with only 19% wanting vigorous enforcement of the new law.

Moderate Enforcement of 1964 Law PreferredIn that light, it is not surprising that in early 1965, a Gallup poll found growing numbers of Americans saying that the Johnson administration was moving too fast overall on integration. In March, 34% held that view, and by May that sentiment rose to 45%, with only 14% expressing the view that it was not moving fast enough.
No one contends with the absolute reality of tradeoffs, but why hasn't the liberal/moderate coalition in charge of the opposition for the past few decades been able to secure more progress thanks to all the tradeoffs made on the backs of people of color and the poor?

It's not surprising they have lost so much credibility with the millions of people protesting against police brutality in blue (in more than one way) cities.
posted by Ouverture at 1:24 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


Last year, following a rash of police shootings of unarmed citizens, California passed the Act to Save Lives, which raised the legal justification for deadly force to “only when necessary in defense of human life.”

In the hands of a prosecutor more interested in justice than being friendly with the cops, that minor change would in fact make an enormous difference. Sadly, most prosecutors are elected in dismally low turnout elections and where they aren't, it isn't a race most people bother to inform themselves about because superficially it seems like anyone qualified ought to do the job about the same way as any other since the law remains the same regardless.

In reality, they have a major influence on cops' priorities with their choices about what kinds of cases to focus on and what kinds they ignore or take lightly. Add that to their mostly unused power to prosecute cops that break the law and it should be obvious why the DA/SA/whatever they call it in your state races are so important.

TBH, I'm kinda baffled as to why they are largely missing from the overall conversation. I think they deserve a lot more focus, and in many cases, blame. My county has elected the same shitbag (Democratic) person time and time again. We have had no lack of egregious crimes committed by cops, jail guards, and such while on duty in that time, but not once has she brought charges.

Cop shoots an unarmed mentally ill person just sitting in the street not threatening anyone? No charges. Cop has a multi-year feud with a neghbor that culminates in him being obviously framed? Nah, that would be too hard to win. No charges. Guards throw a man in a scalding shower and ignore his continuous screams of pain for an hour so that he dies from his burns? Nope, still no charges.

Yes, the union (headed by an openly corrupt and abusive cop in this case) is what gets these criminal gang members a paid vacation and ensures they keep their job, but the SA is the one that keeps them insulated from the risk of being put in prison where they belong. That is what allows them to brazenly act like thugs.
posted by wierdo at 1:51 PM on June 11 [7 favorites]


Why not more progress? There's a very large faction on the other side with a lot of voters, money, and influence in favor of using the police to punish the black population. I mean, Obama used what executive authority he had to use consent decrees to try to address the problem, but then Trump was elected and Jeff Sessions tossed the practice in favor of state and local control. That was before Trump tried to use the US military to kill US citizens.

It's a fight, and there is definitely another side there. Republicans have been running on this law and order shit for a long time and it has borne fruit for them.
posted by factory123 at 1:57 PM on June 11


Why not more progress? There's a very large faction on the other side with a lot of voters, money, and influence in favor of using the police to punish the black population. I mean, Obama used what executive authority he had to use consent decrees to try to address the problem, but then Trump was elected and Jeff Sessions tossed the practice in favor of state and local control.

Was it a Republican who signed the 1994 crime bill that ushered in mass incarceration or dismantled welfare under the guise of "reform"?

All these tradeoffs and all we got were tough on crime Democrats, one of whom is now grotesquely pretending to care about black people (and gatekeeping blackness!) in order to get elected president.

That was before Trump tried to use the US military to kill US citizens.

Trump is so unoriginal. Obama already used the US military to kill multiple US citizens without trial.

I agree that it's a fight, but the very recent historical record clearly demonstrates that it's not just Republicans who oppose progress for people of color and the poor. More importantly, Republicans don't run San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Minneapolis, and New York. So how come black people keep dying in these cities?

It also speaks to the uselessness of thinking electoralism and reforms will save us from the interwoven predations of capital and white supremacy.

Liberals and moderates have told us "you just have to wait" for decades. What happens when the very people they rely on to win elections get tired of waiting?
posted by Ouverture at 2:09 PM on June 11 [5 favorites]


Either candidate gets on board and start driving change or the electorate finds someone who will.

Then there is also the possibility that it splits the electorate and loses to the GOP. Making charitable assumptions about what the dem establishment actually wants, that's their likely calculus. They need to toe the line and make progress slow so as to retain voters that would otherwise defect to the GOP or just stay home (in effect the same thing) and the GOP will be worse.

Another way to look at it is that the GOP has shifted the overton window so far to the right that little to know progress is the best that can be hoped for.

I think you and I would both agree that's bullshit but I'd wager that's the thought process.
posted by VTX at 2:17 PM on June 11 [3 favorites]


I think you and I would both agree that's bullshit but I'd wager that's the thought process.

Yes, this tracks. It reminds me of this tweet:
Meet me in the middle, says the unjust man.

You take a step toward him. He takes a step back.

Meet me in the middle, says the unjust man.
posted by Ouverture at 2:22 PM on June 11 [11 favorites]


An example of how to do without police, for one of their functions: White Center (south of Seattle) had a march with volunteers managing traffic. Bicyclists*, pedestrians in bright vests, and the low-rider car club.

*KCS is King County Sheriff
posted by Margalo Epps at 3:01 PM on June 11




I wouldn’t be surprised if he feared for his safety if he didn’t apologize.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:13 PM on June 11 [6 favorites]


> Why not more progress? There's a very large faction on the other side with a lot of voters, money, and influence in favor of using the police to punish the black population.

Defunding the Police Is Not Nearly Enough - "If we provide disadvantaged areas with the employment opportunities, economic development, housing, and social welfare services that they deserve, while developing community-based institutions of crime deterrence, we can plausibly render policing as we've known it obsolete." (via)
posted by kliuless at 2:09 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Q: "What does an America with defunded police look like to you?"

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: "The good news is that it actually doesn't take a ton of imagination. It looks like a suburb.

Affluent white communities already live in a world where they choose to fund youth, health, housing, etc. more than they fund police. These communities have lower crime rates not because they have more police, but because they have more resources to support healthy society in a way that reduces crime.

When a teenager or preteen does something harmful in a suburb (I say teen because this is often where lifelong carceral cycles begin for Black and Brown communities), White communities bend over backwards to find alternatives to incarceration for their loved ones to "protect their future," like community service or rehab or restorative measures. Why don't we treat Black and Brown people the same way? Why doesn't the criminal system care about Black teens' futures? Why doesn't the news use Black people's graduation or family photos in stories the way they do when they cover White people (eg. Brock Turner) who commit harmful crimes? Affluent White suburbs also design their own lives so that they walk through the world without having much interruption or interaction with police at all, aside from community events and speeding tickets (and many of these communities try to reduce those, too!)

Just starting THERE would be a dramatically and radically different world than what we are experiencing now."


Link
posted by Salamandrous at 9:57 AM on June 13 [23 favorites]


Minneapolis officers quit in wake of George Floyd protests (KVIA, June 14, 2020)
At least seven Minneapolis police officers have quit and another seven are in the process of resigning, citing a lack of support from department and city leaders as protests over George Floyd’s death escalated.

Current and former officers told The Minneapolis Star Tribune that officers are upset with Mayor Jacob Frey’s decision to abandon the Third Precinct station during the protests. Demonstrators set the building on fire after officers left.
So, they opted to de-fund themselves?
Deputy Chief Henry Halvorson said in an email to supervisors earlier this month that some officers have simply walked off the job without filing the proper paperwork, creating confusion about who is still working and who isn’t.
Oh, so those cops are looting from the police departments, which is a bigger deal than the 13 Chicago cops who stole from the previously burgalrized offices of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (USA Today). I mean, if they're collecting wages and benefits but not actually working, they're stealing from the PD, and in turn, robbing tax payers.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:34 PM on June 14 [9 favorites]


Marianne Williamson: "I understand 'defund the police'[*] isn't the best language, but where was all the outrage when they were defunding education, defunding Headstart, defunding hunger & anti-poverty programs, defunding violence prevention programs, defunding peace projects & defunding social services?"

There was outrage. The New York Times put it on page 12 and in scare quotes.

Racism Is the Biggest Reason the U.S. Safety Net Is So Weak - "Harvard economist Alberto Alesina, who died last week, found that ethnic divisions made the country less effective at providing public goods."

London Breed pushes San Francisco reforms: Police no longer will respond to noncriminal calls - "San Francisco police officers will be replaced with trained, unarmed professionals to respond to calls for help on noncriminal matters involving mental health, the homeless, school discipline and neighbor disputes, as part of a new wave of police reforms."

Why do we need armed agents to hand out speeding tickets? "Create a separate road safety agency for that. 'Have them carry a bit of extra gasoline and jumper cables to help stranded motorists as part of their job.'"

Average hours of training required for police officers:
Finland 4500
Germany 4000
Australia 3500
England 2250
Canada 2100
US 672
Police are not the only thing that works at reducing crime and violence.

policeabuses.info: "Would you like to help track cases of police abuse through to outcomes (firings, prosecutions, policy changes, etc..)?"
posted by kliuless at 11:43 PM on June 14 [11 favorites]


Here's an Algorithm for Defunding the Police - "Crime-risk scores reveal the problems that society has shunted onto law enforcement."
Crime risk scoring algorithms -- such as LSI-R, developed in the 1980s -- are supposed to remove some of the human subjectivity from high-stakes decisions, such as how harshly to sentence a person and whether to grant parole or bail. They typically compare a long list of attributes to a database of previous offenders to predict the chance that a person will be re-arrested within two years of leaving custody. They’re demonstrably unfit for purpose. A 2016 statistical investigation by ProPublica found that COMPAS, a widely used crime-risk algorithm, was biased against Black men...

That said, there’s one thing the algorithms are good for: providing a sense of the vast and complex problems that society has pushed onto the police and the criminal justice system. Consider some of the questions that, in most such tools, contribute to a person’s crime-risk score:
  • Are you or have you ever had a mental health problem?
  • Do you have an addiction problem with drugs or alcohol?
  • Did you finish high school?
  • Did you have a job?
  • Did you live in a “high crime neighborhood” or have “gang friends”?
  • Did your father go to prison?
Many of these are completely out of a person’s control, and the rest have at least something to do with the environment in which a person grows up. Black people, for example, are more likely to live in high-crime, low-opportunity neighborhoods because a litany of factors put them there — including overtly racist federal lending policies and exclusionary zoning rules. As a result, they are less likely to graduate from high school or be employed, and more likely to have all kinds of problems...

Let’s turn the tool around, and use it to set priorities. Which elements contribute the most to a person’s crime risk score? Neighborhood? Education? Mental health? Taken together, what share of the risk score do they determine? This could serve as a starting point for deciding how much of our enormous law enforcement and incarceration budgets should be diverted to addressing these issues more directly — most likely in combination, given how they are all linked. Instead of using data to profile people for punishment, we could employ them to help people realize their potential, and to break intergenerational feedback loops of imprisonment.
posted by kliuless at 6:09 AM on June 19 [3 favorites]


Suburbs

(eg. Brock Turner)


This is quite the comparison. I've been increasingly disheartened, sad, and now a little angry, the more arguments I've read about abolishing the police. I think the American police institutions are fundamentally corrupt and need to be defunded and completely disbanded and whatever replaces them, where it turns out to be necessary, need to be a completely new institutions founded on principles that are currently alien to law enforcement. But all of those arguments -- many of which fall back on various ideas of community enforcement, or very vague notions of restorative justice -- get REALLY hand-wavy about domestic violence, gendered violence, and sexual violence, if they address them at all.

There's no question that current law enforcement doesn't protect women and children from these types of violence now. But there seems to be a weird acceptance that that's just how it is, and whatever we replace it with doesn't need to be any better, except with lip service (which we already get). Communities don't protect women and children because they see them as property of men, or simply not as important as men, and that doesn't get better when the people enforcing these norms know the men. And any vision of justice that requires women and children to continue to interact with their abusers for the sake of the abuser's rehabilitation is not, in fact, justice. (This is the thing, that when I read it, makes me immediately see red. All I have for this is monster noises, honestly.)

I don't know what the solutions to these problems are, but I do know I am suspicious of any policy solutions that don't deal with this head on, in a concrete way. And, not for nothing, I'm not a policy wonk, and I'm not particularly insightful. These are glaring, obvious holes that will make abolition a much harder sell unless they're addressed. My fear is that they aren't currently addressed in the easily available / digestible arguments available online (or even in the more in depth articles) because no one knows how to do it. Like the tension between people who believe they're entitled to abuse and the people who deserve to be protected from that abuse is not necessarily something that's solvable with education or mediation. And people who abuse on that scale, with that persistence, are a public health problem. For which the only protective solution, while they're still dangerous, is...quarantine? Which...

If anyone knows of any books that address this in depth, I'd love to get recommendations. But my overall perception is that this is an "awkward" question that mostly gets hand-waved away or outright ignored, and THAT sets off a bunch of alarms for me.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:14 AM on June 19 [4 favorites]


(My reading list at the moment is broader, and not as targeted as "how do these alternative models of social justice deal with these specific problems.")
posted by schadenfrau at 8:17 AM on June 19


But my overall perception is that this is an "awkward" question that mostly gets hand-waved away or outright ignored, and THAT sets off a bunch of alarms for me.

The anti-carceral movement really showed their ass during the Persky recall - choosing to treat Persky as unfairly targeted by someone with a grudge (instead of the somewhat defensible position of "yes, he's a shit heel with a history of not taking sexual violence seriously, but recalling him will cause more problems than it solves"), in large part because he had a history of being a more lenient judge; arguing that Turner's victim didn't write her impact statement of her own volition; wielding the suicide of Dauber's daughter as a weapon against her...

Yeah, I lost a lot of respect for them after that.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:43 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


And any vision of justice that requires women and children to continue to interact with their abusers for the sake of the abuser's rehabilitation is not, in fact, justice. (This is the thing, that when I read it, makes me immediately see red. All I have for this is monster noises, honestly.)

schadenfrau, you're not the only one, e.g. Restorative justice in domestic violence cases is justice denied (Jill Filipovic, Guardian Opinion), but I think it is more about the core principles of restorative justice simply not being applicable to any situation where power and control are as skewed as they are in domestic violence and abuse cases. Maybe review guidelines for mediation generally and check with anti-domestic violence organizations (MeFi Wiki) for additional reading material about why your instincts align with the core principles of protecting the autonomy and safety of survivors.

That being said, I think that there is an extraordinary amount that can be done by expanding access to social services, mental health treatment, housing, health care, transportation, etc. A lot of the underlying principles related to directing resources towards strengthening communities seems very relevant to supporting survivors and their children, at least in terms of work I used to do, which was technically representing survivors in protection order and related cases, but had many 'social work' components in order to bolster successful transitions away from domestic violence. The police often weren't particularly active in these cases, but there was still a need to figure out how to protect people with limited individual and community resources.

I think policy ideas that ignore the dark figure of crime risk missing the opportunity to implement the structural changes that could better promote community safety. So thank you for pointing out marginalized communities who are currently not always noticed but serve as a reminder that there is far more extensive and difficult work to do than simply having no police, and it's more that police would atrophy from lack of use if we redirect resources to where the community most needs them, and if we more effectively address the underlying institutional influences that contribute to violence and harm in the community.
posted by katra at 9:48 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


Americans Like The Ideas Behind Defunding The Police More Than The Slogan Itself - "Americans opposed the 'defund the police' movement or 'defunding police departments' 58 percent to 31 percent, on average."
However, “defund the police” is also a simplistic slogan, and the poll results above do not capture public opinion on the movement’s more concrete policy goals. Specifically, defunding the police is only half of its goal; activists also want to reallocate the money spent on policing to other parts of the social safety net. Indeed, in those very same polls, some of these policy ideas enjoy far more backing among the American public than the slogan does — though the level of support does vary pretty widely depending on the details of the proposal.

For instance, when Reuters/Ipsos queried people about “proposals to move some money currently going to police budgets into better officer training, local programs for homelessness, mental health assistance, and domestic violence,” a whopping 76 percent of people who were familiar with those proposals supported them, with only 22 percent opposed. Democrats and independents supported these proposals in huge numbers while Republicans were split, 51 percent in favor to 47 percent opposed.
The States Taking On Police Reform After The Death Of George Floyd - "In all, three state legislatures — Colorado, Iowa and New York — have passed policing bills." [graphic]
Looking at action in the statehouse has its limits, because police reform usually happens on the local level, as cities and towns decide how to fund and regulate their own police forces. The sheer number of new bills can also be misleading: some state legislatures will eventually bundle multiple bills related to the same topic and pass them as one omnibus bill.

Still, state legislatures can hold tremendous power on issues like setting pensions for police officers, and the wave of new state-level bills represents how swiftly the conversation around policing has shifted since the death of Floyd.
posted by kliuless at 3:36 AM on June 20 [3 favorites]


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