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What “defund the police” really means

It’s not as radical as it sounds.

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Among those protesting police brutality in the US, there is a slogan that’s taken hold: “defund the police.” The key idea is a push to move the billions of dollars we spend on police in the US, to social services and other public spending. The disparities between policing budgets and those of other city agencies are massive. And while defunding the police might sound radical, it’s a policy activists have been talking about for decades. For some, it can mean reforms that simply lessen the police role in society, while for others — the slogan is a call to abolish the system and create something new entirely.

These ideas have all converged into the popular “defund the police” slogan, and the renewed energy around the movement is working.

For further reading:






NYC budget: 

Chicago budget:

On arrest numbers in the US:

ACLU report on police in schools: 

Body camera research: https://bwc.thelab.dc.gov/TheLabDC_MPD_BWC_Working_Paper_10.20.17.pdf

Memphis data: 

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