JUSTICE4BLACKLIVESWINNIPEG's Demands To Make Winnipeg Safe for All BIPOC
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*After listening to extensive constructive community feedback we have a few amendments to the petition at the request of the public. Our original petition did not include specifics of what initial steps towards defunding should look like in the city, 10 clearly outlined steps have since been included. It also did not address the lack of Black history taught across the province (this has also now been included) and The Manitoba Teachers' Society is an added decision maker included in this petition. All amended information/demands will be italicized for clarity and transparency purposes.*
WHAT DOES JUSTICE 4 BLACK LIVES WINNIPEG STAND FOR?
We are a small group of community organizers who believes in and advocates for the eradication of the industrial prison complex as well as the military-industrial prison complex and all actors of those systems. We are choosing to start with defunding, dismantling, and abolishing the Winnipeg Police Service. We do not support systems which police, punish, brutalize and murder BIPOC on a regular basis; there is no way to find justice within such institutions.
Crime is simply an outcry for unmet needs. Needs must be met in the community (food, housing, transportation, healthcare, mental health support, harm reduction services, spiritual supports, addictions supports, free extensive community activities, etc.) through redirected funds from the extensive police budget in order to make Winnipeg a safe and enjoyable place to be for all marginalized people. As was clearly displayed by our event and acknowledged by the WPS publicly, the community does a damn good job at keeping everyone safe. Ultimately, the people keep the people safe, not the police. This is why we know volunteer, as well as community owned, operated and run services/organizations will be able to effectively take over what legal responsibilities the police currently have. Thus, translating into real safety for all. We demand that the City of Winnipeg work with a collaborative group of BIPOC grassroot organizers to determine where all redirected funds from the defunded police budget should be distributed within the community. Those directly on the ground doing the work themselves know what is required, their voices need to be heard.
Our end goal is to translate the safe, loving, welcoming and caring atmosphere we created at the rally to each person’s daily life in the city. Signing/sharing the petition, doing your research, keeping the pressure on officials to act, and overall supporting the movement is a large part of helping us achieve that goal together.
DEMANDS FOR THE CITY OF WINNIPEG
1.Defunding/abolishing the Winnipeg Police Service.
Above all else our group supports and advocates for complete abolition and defunding of the Winnipeg Police Service. In Canada, the history of the police come from the racist colonial aftershocks used simply to control, manipulate and abuse Indigenous peoples in attempts to steal their land. We as Black people recognize and acknowledge that our current policing system is simply a reformed version of the racist and extremely violent slave patrol. No reform can come from these colonial practices, the system must be rebuilt and include marginalized voices in the process in order to protect all BIPOC to this city’s full capability.
We strongly believe in the ability of local communities, grassroots organizers and grassroots organizations to provide what their community needs directly, in order to effectively and efficiently step in and take over what legal responsibilities the police currently have.
There are numerous volunteer organizations in Winnipeg which have already taken on this idea and shown us what this concept can look like in practice and actuality such as Mama Bear Clan, Klinic Community Health, Spence Neighborhood Association and many more. We believe that the large chunk of city funding which goes towards the Winnipeg Police Services would be much better allocated in supporting existing community initiatives, or in funding new ones to arise.
An important aspect to note in this defunding plan, we are also calling for the end of Cadet use as they are mini-cops in the city carrying out injustices just on a micro level which never make it to the mainstream. Cadets are an extended entity of the police, so we are calling for them to be defunded as well. Everyone who contributed to this petition can attest they have witnessed inappropriate violence primarily against homeless Indigenous folks who live Downtown from Cadets.
We are petitioning for the City of Winnipeg to use Black and Indigenous grassroots organizers and activists as well as the citizen group Winnipeg Police Cause Harm to come up with a detailed plan of action towards further achieving the abolition of the WPS.
2. We understand that defunding and abolition will require time.
We have several demands that the City of Winnipeg must implement and codify. In the meantime, several are adopted from the demands that the NAACP have recommended, and others created and recommended by us.
We are calling for a complete ban on use of knee-holds and chokeholds for the Winnipeg Police Service as a reasonable means of response and action in any situation.
We are demanding that all police misconduct information and disciplinary histories (past and present) are not hidden from the public. Everything must be released with complete transparency, no more lies, no more coverups.
We are demanding the immediate implementation of a Citizen’s Review Board to hold police departments accountable for mis-action created in collaboration with Indigenous and Black Grassroot organizers.
The City of Winnipeg must adopt a zero-tolerance policy in penalizing and/or prosecuting police officers who kill Indigenous and Black folks rather than effectively de-escalating the situation. No investigation should allow state legislated murders to be carried out by an external body of government without accountability and full responsibility.
3. City of Winnipeg Issue a public statement calling for immediate prosecution of those responsible for the deaths of D'Andre Campbell, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, and Jamal Francique.
The three Black Canadians were murdered at the hands of the police and received no justice. In all three cases, the police worked extremely hard to cover up their mis-action and bury news about these cases from making their way to the mainstream media. Not anymore.
4. Mayor Brian Bowman finally acknowledge and condemn the actions of the Winnipeg Police Service from 2019-2020 which resulted in the untimely deaths of the Machuar Madut, Eishia Hudson, Jason Collins, Stewart Kevin Andrews, Randy Cochrane, Sean Thompson, and Chad Williams in a public forum.
Do not address all those who have passed in one single statement, we demand separate statements for each individual. The way they were murdered was one at a time and the acknowledgement needs to reflect that. The families of those who have passed at least deserve that amount of respect by the supposed leader of our city. These are also only names which are actively in the media. We understand that there are many who passed in police custody and their names simply were not released. We are fighting for acknowledgment of those individuals as well; to their families, this fight is also for you.
5. Immediate steps of action to show overall commitment to defunding, dismantling and abolishing the Winnipeg Police Service.
1.) We are demanding for the City of Winnipeg to publicly commit to no longer raising the WPS budget, indefinitely. Permanently. The end goal is to reduce the budget number to 0. They already have 26.8% of city funding at their disposal, not a cent more is needed nor should be provided.
2.) Completely transparency with the public regarding all current and future police budget decisions, and funding.
3.) We are demanding for the defunding and discontinued use of costly police department equipment only used to terrorize communities and individuals. Such as but not limited to; license plate readers, facial recognition technology, the WPS helicopter, and the WPS armoured vehicle.
4.) Cut overtime budgets immediately. Overtime is a large area for excessive spending in any police budget, especially here in Winnipeg.
5.) Cancel all cadet classes indefinitely.
6.) Demand WPS hiring services be frozen immediately. The service currently has 1,442 officers, not a single more is required.
7.) We demand that all names and badge numbers of currently employed officers who are responsible for the deaths, assaults, attacks, and harassments of BIPOC in the city be disclosed. We are demanding their entire previous misconduct history be released and shared with the public for complete transparency. We demand these officers be fired, as well as their salaries and pensions be terminated. No monetary gain of any kind should be provided for those who assault and murder on the job.
8.) Officers who are found to be abusing their power and violating BIPOC in the city must have their employment terminated indefinitely without the ability to be hired by any other policing or security agency in the city.
9.) We demand that those who are under investigation no longer be eligible for paid administrative leave. Immediate leave without pay is required for those who abuse their power.
10.) We are demanding that the police community relations unit be defunded as soon as possible. Police are a problematic extension of colonialism and white supremacy. There does not need to be funding towards trying to convince the public that the truth, is not the truth.
6. After new steps have been taken to ensure officers cannot evade responsibility, we are calling for a new investigations into the deaths of Machuar Madut, Eishia Hudson, Jason Collins, Stewart Kevin Andrews, Randy Cochrane, Sean Thompson and Chad Williams. Police do not get to murder and face no consequences; they must be held accountable like everyone else. Being a police officer is not a get out of jail free card, it cannot be used to justify murder.
We are also calling for investigations into the deaths of unnamed and unidentified individuals who died at the hands of the police or in their custody.
DEMANDS FOR THE PROVINCE OF MANITOBA
1).To give the city of Winnipeg any resources OR support they may reach out for in accomplishing demands laid out above.
2. To cut all current ties that the Manitoban education system has with police, and commit to allowing this disconnect to be permanent. Their presence is not only traumatizing for young children, it also allows for unfair cop propaganda to be fed to children from a young age. This gives officers the opportunity to harass BIPOC in a place where all children are supposed to feel safe, included and welcome.
3. We are demanding for Premier Brian Pallister to finally acknowledge and condemn the actions of the Winnipeg Police Service from 2019-2020 which resulted in the untimely deaths of the Machaur Madut, Eishia Hudson, Jason Collins, Stewart Kevin Andrews, Randy Cochrane, Sean Thompson, and Chad Williams in a public forum. Do not address all those who have passed in one single statement, we demand separate statements for each individual. The way they were murdered was one at a time and the acknowledgement needs to reflect that. The families of those who have passed at least deserve that amount of respect by the supposed leader of our province.
These are also only names which are actively in the media. We understand that there are many who passed in police custody and their names simply were not released. We are fighting for acknowledgment of those individuals as well; to their families, this fight is also for you.
4. Demand that the Province of Manitoba issue a public statement calling for immediate prosecution of those responsible for the deaths of D'Andre Campbell, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, and Jamal Francique.
DEMAND FOR THE PROVINCE OF MANITOBA AND THE MANITOBA TEACHERS' SOCIETY
1. We are demanding for true, genuine Black Canadian history to be added to the Provincial Curriculum as a mandatory topic. We are demanding for this curriculum to be created with Black educators and administrators in Manitoba, in tandem with Black Grassroot organizers. Currently there is very little if any at all education regarding Black people taught in Canadian history, making it seem like Black people are a recent addition to this nation, which we are not. It is now public record that slavery existed, thrived, and ran rampant in Canada, and it is time for that to be acknowledged and formally taught amongst other Black successes and experiences. We demand that racist anti-Black historical events be included and taught extensively, such as but not limited to: Africville, Hogan’s Alley, Code Noir, Birchtown, The Imperial Statue of 1790, The Black Loyalist Exodus, Maroons of Halifax in 1796, The Wilberforce Settlement, The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and others to be determined by Black folks. These events occurred, with documentation as proof. There is no reason that in 2020 this content is not already being taught.
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