Defund the Police

Below is the public comment I made at the 6/8/2020 Denver City Council meeting. I’m proud of it, and I hope it helps anyone else who is trying to communicate to your local elected officials (especially if you are a white person) what your priorities and demands are if your values are in line with the ones I’ve shared.

I’m Kate Crowe, and I’m here today because I want our city council to radically rethink what we mean when we say we value public safety, and what we mean when we say we want to prevent violence in this city. The city’s 2019 budget says that “all Denver residents and visitors deserve to be and feel safe in our community,” a values statement that I and hopefully the whole of the city council agrees with. Our police department has shown itself to be inadequate to this task. The city’s budget is a moral document – it shows where our elected and appointed officials’ priorities and values are, and it tells us, your constituents, whether or not your priorities are in line with our values. This is not about that cliche we hear over and over again, of a ”few bad apples.”

This is about a system that is violent and rotten to its core, that has its foundations in slave catching, and in the subjugation and commodification of Black, Indigenous, and non-Black People of Color.

This is about a system that costs our city twice what Baltimore spends on excessive force payouts, despite being a smaller city with a lower crime rate.

This is about a system that murders Black men experiencing homelessness and mental health crises, like Michael Marshall and Marvin Booker.

This is about a system that allows police to fire into a moving car, killing a queer Latinx teenager like Jessie Hernandez.

Our own mayor, in a recent interview, called all of these deaths “murders.” So what I would ask from you, my councilperson Jamie Torres, in advance of the elections in three years, is that you commit to working with this council to redirect the city’s $400 million + budget allocated to policing to proven community-based programs focused on affordable housing, mental health care and other public health initiatives developed in partnership with the communities that are most impacted by these issues.

If I don’t see change, I’ll be the first person out door knocking and phone banking for current members’ opponents. Thank you, and I yield the balance of my time.

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