As cities make deep cuts because of COVID-19, police departments are keeping their funding

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Across the country, the police are often the one city agency not facing deep cuts in proposed post-pandemic budgets. As protesters face off against incredibly well-equipped police, they’re asking what that money is for. As images from protests against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death have spread around the country, a key demand from protesters has been the defunding of city police departments: that cutting the money a city spends on police would, in fact, make communities safer. They’ve pointed to the tactical gear and equipment that the police have been pictured using as evidence that cities spend far too much money on their law enforcement, at the expense of other agencies that often lack funds to offer basic services to residents. Read Full Story

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Does defunding the police sound radical? Some cities have already taken the first steps

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Small examples from around the country show how cities are moving money from police budgets to investing in communities. Nationwide, we spend more than $100 billion on policing a year, a statement of budgetary priorities that has come under renewed scrutiny after George Floyd’s death and protests against police brutality across the country. Calls to “defund the police” are gaining traction, but the idea itself is not new. Though it has usually only happened in small doses, some communities have already been chipping away at their outsized police budgets for years, investing that money back into the community rather than into armed cops. Read Full Story

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‘Defund the police’ goes from slogan to reality: Here’s a roundup of major city PDs facing changes

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The concept of defunding the police is quickly gaining traction, and some cities are moving to make it a reality. A few weeks ago, the idea of defunding police departments might have seemed radical to most Americans, but the concept is quickly gaining traction. This weekend, as the slogan “Defund the Police” was painted in giant yellow letters on a street in the nation’s capital, a number of city officials made pledges to divert funds away from their local police departments and into other community-building endeavors. Read Full Story

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YouTubers are creating monetized videos about racial justice so you can donate to BLM by streaming

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If you can’t protest and can’t donate, you can still generate funds by watching these videos (and the ads). George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police has sparked action against police brutality around the world, from protest to a flood of donations for bail funds and Black Lives Matter to renewed calls for legislation that would reform police departments. If you aren’t able to donate money but still want to financially support the movement, YouTubers are creating monetized videos that allow you to support BLM just by streaming with your ad blocker off. Read Full Story

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Walmart removes guns and ammo from some stores due to ongoing protests against police brutality

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The move comes after some retailers, including Walmart competitor Target, have been looted during the overwhelmingly peaceful protests. As protests around the country over the killing of Gorge Floyd at the hands of police officers enter their second week, brick-and-mortar retailing giant Walmart has confirmed that it has removed firearms and ammunition from some of its stores across the country. Read Full Story

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These are 8 simple reforms mayors could make to start to reduce police violence

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8 Can’t Wait, from Deray Mckesson’s Campaign Zero, offers a quick blueprint for simple use-of-force policies that have been associated with fewer deaths. In many cities in the U.S., police departments don’t have a ban on chokeholds and strangleholds—despite the fact that the practice can seriously injure or kill civilians. In cities that do have these bans, police officers have killed 22% fewer people. Similarly, many cities don’t have a policy that requires officers to make a report every time they use or threaten to use force against civilians. There’s a 25% gap in police killings between cities that do and don’t have that policy. Read Full Story

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Here’s what defunding the police would look like in your city

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A new tool from the Vera Institute for Justice shows how police departments spend their budgets—and lets you experiment with reallocating them. Calls to defund police departments intensified after George Floyd was killed in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department. But just how big are these budgets? A new infographic looks at the actual cost to cities across the country—and it’s huge. Read Full Story

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Eliminating this federal program would play a major part in demilitarizing the police

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Since 1997, there’s been an easy pipeline of combat equipment from the military to local community police departments—including assault rifles, grenade launchers, and bomb-detonating robots. In 2014, the ACLU reported that police departments in Arizona had collectively amassed a military arsenal that included: 712 rifles, 64 armored vehicles, 42 forced-entry tools, 32 bomb suits, 704 night-vision items, 830 units of surveillance equipment, and, in at least one department, “a .50 caliber machine gun that shoots bullets powerful enough to blast through the buildings on multiple city blocks.” Read Full Story

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The controversy over how the Minnesota Freedom Fund is spending its donations, explained

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A bail fund donation was always going to do more than just bail out protestors As thousands of people across the country took to the streets to protest police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death, many more thousands sought to help by making donations. Online opinion quickly coalesced around donating to community bail funds as a way to support the protestors: if they were arrested, then they could be promptly released from jail. For people looking to help in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Freedom Fund became a favorite recommendation. It ended up receiving more than $30 million in donations in just a few days, though at the beginning of May, its goal had been raising just $5,000 for the month. As the protests spread, groups like Brooklyn Community Bail Fund and Community Justice Exchange’s National Bail Fund Network also saw surges in donations. Read Full Story

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The secret money trail exposing America’s racist monuments

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With a $4 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the art studio Monument Lab is creating a database of America’s monuments—including who funded them. It’s a time of reckoning for American monuments. Over the summer, monuments to Confederate figures became the focus of protests and teardowns in the aftermath of uprisings against systemic racism and police brutality in the United States. The calls and actions to tear down these monuments highlighted the anger that memorials to racist figures have engendered for decades. The protests spurred renewed attention to the skewed histories that monuments can tell. Read Full Story

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