Alicia Garza is a Black Lives Matter co-founder and a resident of Oakland. When the movement to defund police stations began this year, Oakland was one of the cities that responded in a most decisive manner.
Back in July, the Oakland City Council had a unanimous vote. They would form a 17 person task force that was designed to strip the police department of their funding.
If successful, this task force will reduce its budget by at least 50 percent. “The Oakland City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday night to form a task force that will work on a plan to reconstruct public safety in Oakland — with the goal of reducing the police department budget by 50% over the next two years,” the Eastbay Times reports.
Since that vote was initially taken, a number of different things have happened in the city of Oakland. People are learning the hard way that they need the police far more than they could have ever thought.
Violent crime continues to rise. Homicide cases are up when compared to this time last year. The neighborhoods that are being affected are not looking to remove police. In fact, they would rather hire more.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “A poll released last week by the Chamber of Commerce showed that citywide, 58% of residents want to either maintain or increase the size of the police force. That figure climbs to 75% in District 7, an area of East Oakland where gunfire exploded this summer.
Notably, the poll showed that support for increasing the size of the police force is higher among Black voters, at 38% than white voters, at 27%.” This goes against all of the liberal posturing that has been taking place but who are we to say anything? Ginale Harris is a member of the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force and she’s speaking out as well.
She made note of the fact that no one mentioned a shootout that had taken place the night before during a recent meeting. “You got 100 people coming on there, and nobody says one thing about it,” Harris said. The level of emotion in her voice was evident.
” The night before, someone had fired 60 rounds outside her house, a few blocks from the shooting on 84th. Harris and her 12-year-old son had ducked for cover when they heard the bullets hitting cars and homes,” the SF Chronicle reported.
The majority of these shootings have nothing to do with the police when they initially take place. If the police are forced to intervene, that is a different story. The police’s task is a simple one: they need to protect those who are affected by the violence. They are not worried about the identity of the people they are protecting. This is just a part of the job that they have signed up for.
While media coverage is usually driven by the involvement of Black Lives Matter protesters, the truth is that these incidents do not represent a commonplace issue for a city like this one. Their citizens are tired of the gunfire that they are subjected to on a constant basis. The relatively rare incidents like George Floyd’s are not the issue here.
No one would ever argue that the use of force in that particular tragedy was necessary here. However, cities cannot tear it all down to assist people when they are leaving more citizens at risk by doing so. No city should end up with a police force that is unequipped to deal with the real problems that come up on an everyday basis.
There’s no reason to make this into a trade-off. You can believe that black Americans have been unfairly targeted by the police, while also standing in solidarity with the police.
Cities like this one are going to find themselves in an absolute train wreck of their own making if they continue to proceed with these sorts of half baked ideas.