What are Black Lives Matters and defunding the police


What is Black Lives Matters? It’s been around for a while now, but the movement got significant momentum and became the top trend after George Floyd’s death.

George, a 51-year-old Black American, died in the custody of the Minneapolis police department. Mainly due to an officer named Derek Chauvin pressing against his neck for approximately 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

After this incident, many protests over racial discrimination erupted across the states and other countries. For weeks thousands of people marched on the streets, enchanting Black Lives Matter and demanding justice for Floyd.

The black lives matters protests that followed George’s death have not settled yet.

Especially now that another scandal has added to the anger, that scandal was the shooting of Jacob Blake. Jacob was in an altercation with the police when things went sideways. That confrontation resulted in his hospitalization, with seven bullet holes in his back.

“Blake’s paralyzed and, because those bullets severed his spinal cord and shattered some of his vertebrae, it is going to take a miracle for Jacob Blake Jr ever to walk again.” Reported his lawyer.

Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes said,” Jacob Blake got shot in the back seven times in front of his children. The shooting wasn’t an accident. The officer’s deadly actions attempted to take a person’s life in broad daylight. Like many of you, the video is burned into my mind like all the past videos just like it.”

After the Jacob Blake incident, mass protests started across Kenosha against racial discrimination. These protests became a hotbed for anti and pro-police sentiments. Agitators such as Kyle Rittenhouse descended on Kenosha.

One night, Kyle Rittenhouse, a seventeen-year-old Illinois native, opened fire at the protesters in Kenosha. Two individuals died as a result. After his subsequent arrest, public sentiments are only more divided.

We were all chanting ‘Black lives matter’ at the gas station, and then we heard, boom, boom, and I told my friend, `That’s not a firework. And then this guy with this huge gun runs by us in the middle of the street, and people are yelling, ‘He shot someone! He shot someone!’ And everyone is trying to fight the guy, chasing him, and then he started shooting again.

Protester Devin

The ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests continue, and every day more and more people join it. It is not yet clear how these protests would end, but many hope that all these efforts would be worth it, and black people would get equal rights, which they deserve.

What Defunding The Police Is, And How Far It’s Going

2020 has been challenging for the whole world. But for the US, it’s been more challenging than anyone else. Along with the challenges of the COVID-19 and its subsequent impacts on the economy, the “Black Lives Matter” protests have added to America’s difficulties. Follow along as we explore the question of what does defunding the police mean?

The protests against racial discrimination and police brutality erupted across the states after George Floyd, a 51-year-old, Black American died in the Minneapolis police department’s custody. Thousands of people joined the protests over racial discrimination. They demanded justice for George and the police reforms by defunding the police.

Defunding the police protest image 2

After the public’s outrage, lawmakers in thirteen states decided to cut police funds and relocate the money into the social programs. All did not appreciate their decision, as many people criticized them for this step. Saying that defunding the law and enforcement would only escalate the crimes. Considering this, is it an excellent decision to defund the police?

David Harris, JD, University of Pittsburgh Law Professor, must have anticipated this as he said, “We should not assume that the most poorly-paid cops are the worst cops. But the chances increase that you don’t attract the best officers.”

American policing has never been a neutral institution. The first U.S. city police department was a slave patrol, and modern police forces have directed oppression and violence at Black people to enforce Jim Crow, wage the War on Drugs, and crackdown on protests.

Paige Fernandez

But, when the resources run out, this would consequently reduce the wages. As a result, the employees would have to do double shifts to make both ends meet. So, wouldn’t this affect the efficiency of the law and enforcement response?

So, how does the defunding proposal stands out? If this proposal is adopted, the department will have to remove many troops to balance the employees and the resources. This way, only the best officers would be selected, which, in theory, would improve the law and enforcement response.

Moreover, less force means that officers would not be dealing with every small issue. Such as those concerning mental illness and loud- music playing in the neighborhood. That would decrease police engagement and interaction with the people, which would lead to less police violence.

Whether to defund the police or not, this is considerable debate, and everyone has different thoughts on it. Many states’ representatives continue to oppose this notion, whereas others support it. On the other hand, President Trump doesn’t seem to be a great fan of this proposal. He said, “Sleepy Joe Biden and the Radical Left Democrats want to ‘DEFUND THE POLICE.’ I want great and well-paid LAW ENFORCEMENT. I want LAW & ORDER!”

Protestors with End Systemic racism signage

As the defund the police movement stands right now. A lot of legislation is currently in the works. There is the Justice of Policing act of 2020. The George Floyd Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity act.

On June 16, 2020, The United States President signed an executive order. That order is called Safe Policing for Safe Communities. It seeks to create an independent review process that offers benefits, as well as promotes police training.

All in all, to date, 24 states have police reform legislation formally moving towards a vote. These bills range widely from state to state and cover many angles as far as policy. That range includes banning the police from using chokeholds and reevaluating practice standards related to the use of force—de-escalation training and ending “no-knock” warrants.

While falling short of the title defund the police, these measures show significant promise. But the fact that they were necessary should cause some real soul searching. Why did these common-sense reforms take so long to enact? More importantly, the issue of transparency is like an afterthought.

On Tuesday, New York first lady Chirlane McCray announced a pilot program in New York’s two communities to respond to 911 calls. The program will be unveiled next year, and it will be unique in the sense that it will comprise social workers and EMS health workers to respond to 911 calls related to phycological issues.

Currently, all mental health and violence-related 911 calls are addressed by The New York City Police Department and Fire Based Emergency Medical Services. However, a new pilot program planned to launch in February 2020 will allow the mental health experts to deal with 911 calls involving suicide attempts, severe psychological and physical illness, etc.

“Emergencies are not all the same, and the skills needed to respond vary as well. Expanding the role of mental health in emergency services means that people with urgent behavioral health needs can quickly get appropriate and effective help from trained health professionals”, said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi in a written statement.

According to the officials, the program will be dispatched through the 911 system, and police will be set as a backup in cases involving weapons or violence only.

In the recent few years, especially in 2020, the United States reported an alarming rise in Black deaths caused by police violence and brutality. The mayor took the initiative to reduce potentially deadly interactions between police and people in the United States, including New York.

“The City” news outlet reported that the number of 911 calls related to mental health problems increased from 97000 in 2009 to 180000 in 2019. According to Dennis Kenney, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, about 25% of people killed by police suffer from mental health issues.

“One in five New Yorkers struggles with a mental health condition. Now, more than ever, we must do everything we can to reach those people before crisis strikes. For the first time in our city’s history, health responders will be the default responders for a person in crisis, making sure those struggling with mental illness receive the help they need.”

The recent movements for defunding the police and relocation of money towards community -based interventions pushed the authorities to introduce this program.

New York’s officials stated that the program would effectively alleviate the unrest created by frequent police brutality incidents regarding the Black people. In most cases, they said these people were suffering from severe mental crises at the time of their death.

Some of the measures listed here show real promise. But there are a lot of roadblocks ahead for the defund the police movement. Police Unions come to mind in that regard. Plus, a Democratic President will most likely galvanize the Republican base.

Those roadblocks might be the icing on the cake to democratic infighting. The President-elect doesn’t have to distance himself from anyone. At least during the honeymoon phase of the presidency. However, local and state Democratic candidates don’t have that luxury.