In wake of the protests post George Floyd’s death, many are calling to defund police departments across the United States.
Spending on policing in the US has almost tripled, from $42.3bn in 1977 to $114.5bn in 2017.
Social controls are not sustainable. They require more and more oppressive means of containing people who stand up against oppression.
The basic principle of defunding is that government budgets and “public safety” spending should prioritize housing, employment, community health, education and other vital programs, instead of police officers. Advocates argue that defunding is the best way forward since attempts to reform police practices over the last five years have failed, as evidenced by the brutal killing of George Floyd.
The call is to reduce and redirect police department funds as a means to address systematic racism and excessive use of force in law enforcement agencies.
Ms Ocasio-Cortez, a New York congresswoman, expressed her support during a debate on New York Spectrum News 1.
"The reduction of our NYPD budget and defunding a $6 billion budget, that costs us books in the hands of our children and costs us very badly needed investment in NYCHA and public housing," Ms Ocasio-Cortez said.
To explain why Isaac Bryan, the director of UCLA's Black Policy Center, supports the idea, he points to history: Law enforcement in the South began as slave patrol, a team of vigilantes hired to recapture escaped slaves. Then, when slavery was abolished, police enforced Jim Crow laws -- even the most minor infractions.
"That history is ingrained in our law enforcement," Bryan said.
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