Defund the Asheville Police Department

Defund the Asheville Police Department

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Victoria Estes started this petition to Mayor Esther Manheimer and

Policing is a violent, anti-black, settler institution that originated as slave patrols.Their primary mandate is to protect property and to militarily enforce white supremacist capitalism. They are doing their job as they are paid and trained to do. You can't fix what isn't broken- That's why we fight for police abolition.

1,099 people were killed by police in 2019[1] Unarmed black civilians are nearly five times more likely to be shot and killed by police than unarmed white people. [2] Sexual assault is one of the most common forms of police brutality. Trans people are 7X more likely to experience police violence than cis people. [3] Police assault their partners at 2-4X higher rate than domestic violence in the general population. [4] 

Police reform does not work. The Minneapolis Police implemented trainings on implicit bias, mindfulness, de-escalation and crisis intervention; diversified the department's leadership; created tighter use-of-force standards; adopted body cameras; initiated a series of police-community dialogues; and enhanced early-warning systems to identify problem officers. None of which have worked.

The solution is to defund the police. But that's only part of it. We need a massive redistribution of funds, especially to black communities. The money used to pay salaries of police officers should be used to fund programs that teach community accountability; such skills as non-violent de-escalation, restraint and de-arming methods that do not cause harm, ways to respond to accidents, panic attacks, seizures, and mental health crisis', and more... Which will create a community that is prepared to be their own source of security. 

An excerpt from the New York Times Says it well [5]

Municipalities can begin by changing policies or statutes so police officers never respond to certain kinds of emergencies, including ones that involve substance abuse, domestic violence, homelessness or mental health. Instead, health care workers or emergency response teams would handle these incidents. So if someone calls 911 to report a drug overdose, health care teams rush to the scene; the police wouldn’t get involved. If a person calls 911 to complain about people who are homeless, rapid response social workers would provide them with housing support and other resources. Conflict interrupters and restorative justice teams could mediate situations where no one’s safety is being threatened. Community organizers, rather than police officers, would help manage responses to the pandemic. Ideally, people would have the option to call a different number — say 727 — to access various trained response teams.

The good news is, this is already happening. Violence interruption programs exist throughout the country and they’re often led by people from the community who have experience navigating tricky situations. Some programs, like one in Washington, D.C., do not work with the police; its staff members rely instead on personal outreach and social connections for information about violence that they work to mediate and diffuse. We should invest in these programs, which operate on shoestring budgets, so they have their own dedicated dispatch centers outside of 911.

Dallas is pioneering a new approach where social workers are being dispatched to some 911 calls that involve mental health emergencies. The program has shown success, and many of the people receive care that they would never have gotten in jails or overcrowded hospitals.

In California, the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective deals with child sexual abuse without the police. The collective develops pods — groups of people including survivors, bystanders or people who have harmed in the past — that each pod-member feels they can turn to for support when needed.

We don't need police to protect us, we need to protect ourselves and defunding police is a step in the right direction.

[1] https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/

[2] https://lawcenter.giffords.org/facts/gun-violence-statistics/

[3] https://www.collectiveactiondc.org/our-work/advocacy/state-violence-gender-violence/

[4] http://womenandpolicing.com/violenceFS.asp

[5] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/30/opinion/george-floyd-police-funding.html

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