Demand that Mayor Andy Berke Divest from the Police Budget

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Community members and local grassroots organizations are aware that local Black officials in Chattanooga are attempting to speak out against the murder of Black and Brown people afar, yet they continue to ignore local injustices in Chattanooga to protect the interests of the Police Department. These elected officials claim that they are paying attention to the interests of the people, however, their only proposals involve hiring more Black cops, increasing law enforcement salaries and retirement funds, while providing more training and psychological evaluations. These reactive efforts have been tried again and again and they always fail to bring actual transformative change. We cannot settle for less.


Make no mistake, the same police department Chief Roddy leads has blood on its hands. Like any other police department across the country today, CPD and local officials continue to turn a blind eye to their own transgressions and negligence. Hamilton County and the local Chattanooga Police Department is not exempt from terrorizing marginalized communities with brutality and murder. We reject the theory that there are only a few bad police on the force, because we know that the CPD, Hamilton County Sheriff's Department and local law enforcement cover-up, lie and avoid accountability in every way possible. Over seventy community members of the Chattanooga and Hamilton County Metro Area have died at the hands of local law enforcement.

  • We are demanding a divestment from the $71.93 million dollar police budget and investment in Black and Brown communities

The Black radical tradition of Chattanooga that contributed to the formation of our local government has been demanding the divestment from police, the release of our people, and an end to police brutality for more than thirty-five years. HCSO deputies, Chattanooga Police officers and the TN Highway Patrol continue to show up with militarized equipment armed for war. We have witnessed the attack of nonviolent protesters with tear gas in crowds that include children, as well as the intimidation of our people with billy-clubs, batons, and firearms. Chief Roddy stood idly by and watched as law enforcement conducted aggressive and violent arrests through each night of the protests. 


Chattanooga Mayor and city council members claim that “defunding the police is not an option”, because they allegedly provide us with “public safety.” We are redefining public safety! Community members and leaders that experience police misconduct, intimidation, and brutality on a daily basis envision new possibilities for public safety that are rooted in fully resourced communities, holistic and collective care that includes healing, and meeting the needs of every community member.


The ongoing uprising and protests show that hundreds of Chattanooga residents feel unprotected, lied to, and ignored. The photo opportunity with CPD officers taking a knee, features officer Melvin Scott Crider who has been charged with domestic abuse and put on paid leave twice, before being awarded and promoted within the CPD. Is this the process of accountability that we are supposed to wait for the CPD to complete? The same CPD that has attempted to cover-up the rape of women by an on-duty officer, Desmond Logan, in his patrol car? The same CPD who murdered JaVario Eagle in front of his four year old daughter? The police don’t keep us safe, we keep us safe. We aren’t asking for politicians to work with police in closed-door meetings to make change. The people have specific demands and we won’t settle for less!