Defund the New Brunswick Police Department
This petition had 61 supporters
Nationwide protests over rampant brutality and excessive use-of-force have led to increasingly more calls to defund police departments, and New Brunswick should be no different.
The police system as it currently stands is an agent of oppression, primarily to Black and brown communities, than anything else. More money and resources to the police department would only perpetuate that. The Minneapolis Police Department funded procedural justice, implicit bias, and racial sensitivity training and had every officer complete those training, yet that wasn’t enough to keep George Floyd alive.
The attack on Black lives is not foreign to New Brunswick. In 2011, two New Brunswick Police Department officers shot and killed Barry Deloatch, an unarmed Black man. Officers claimed that they shot Deloatch because he attempted to hit them with a wooden stick. Despite protests and support from the NAACP, the officers involved were not charged and were even given paid administrative leave.
We are calling on the New Brunswick City Council to reduce funds given to the police department and strategically reallocate that money to the community as a means to end violence against Black and brown people.
We believe that rather than having armed police respond to the majority of emergencies, there should be professional and culturally relevant response teams. You wouldn’t see a general practitioner treat chest pains with a scalpel so why should non-violent emergencies (like mental health calls) be answered by strangers with guns? Instead, the city should fund specific departmental teams made up of mental health professionals, social workers, city employees and other qualified members of the community.
We also want the New Brunswick City Council to invest the money saved from defunding the police into more youth development programs, more services for the houseless, more mental health resources, better access to healthcare and rent relief for the unemployed. With these alternatives to policing, crime rates would decline as people wouldn’t be struggling to meet their basic needs.
We know these solutions will take time, money and a re-imagination of safety but by giving back to the community, we believe New Brunswick can be a safer place to live for everyone.
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