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Read My Name Lyda, I Also Want To Defund The Police

July 2, 2020 Crime, Featured, Politics/Policy No Comments

The topic of defunding the police continues to make headlines, especially after poor judgement by our mayor recently:

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson is facing backlash on social media Friday night for reading the names and street addresses of protesters who are calling on the city to defund the police department. (KSDK)

She apologized, but it’s clear she’s more of the same — willing to make minor tweaks here and there, but not actually solve the root problems with big bold changes.

A massive former military vehicle on display during the opening of the police headquarters, July 2014

I like to use an analogy of a dirty, grimy, & cluttered house. Krewson and others would tackle such a house with a feather duster. They can look busy and point to progress, but it’s not really effective.

The real way to tackle such a house is to remove all contents, and then evaluate if the structure is worth saving.  It either needs thoroughly scrubbing, extensive remodeling, or razing and replacement. Then only put back what’s been cleaned, and fits — no more clutter.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police is like this dirty, grimy, cluttered house. St. Louis County Police too. The clutter is a Jim Crow-era racist culture We’ve got to basically start over, create a new culture.

The St. Louis Police acted like an occupying force by blocking a major street, Olive, in front of their headquarters , June 3 2020
They even blocked the sidewalk with a concrete barrier.

To me defunding the police means completely disband the existing police. One city has done this: Camden, NJ.  It got a lot of press last month for its “Camden Rising” redevelopment plan, but Camden residents say not so fast.

“Camden Rising” is Camden’s redevelopment plan, created by powerful non-Camden residents, aimed at attracting young, white professionals to move here. It shifted governing power over public services — including education, housing, economics, and public safety — from Camden’s primarily Black and Latino residents to county and state officials. And the 2013 creation of the CCPD was integral to the Camden Rising redevelopment strategy of recasting Camden, long viewed in local and popular media as “dangerous,” as now “safe.” (Business Insider)

This is NOT what we should do! Still, we must do something. I’ve lived here nearly 30 years, little has changed. Well, the police have more surplus military vehicles now.

Some supporters of divestment want to reallocate some, but not all, funds away from police departments to social services and reduce their contact with the public to reduce the likelihood of police violence.

Those seeking to disband police consider defunding an initial step toward creating an entirely different model of community-led public safety.

The concept exists on a spectrum, and the two aren’t dichotomous but interconnected. But both interpretations center on reimagining what public safety looks like — shifting resources away from law enforcement toward community resources, he said.

It also means dismantling the idea that police are “public stewards” meant to protect communities. (CNN)

We need substantive change, but I know the monied old guard haven’t given you the authorization to to do anything meaningful — they like the status quo.  We need a mayor not beholden to the old guard, someone willing to rock the boat.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

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