CHICAGO — Protesters in Chicago and across the country continued calls for city governments to cut support and defund local police forces Monday.
This movement is not just about taking money away from police departments, organizers say, but rather a push to shift those resources to community-based organizations.
“There’s billions and billions of dollars that are tied up in policing that could be spent on things like the Chicago public school systems, things like increasing our mental health services, increased general health care services, increasing transportation access,” said Elizabeth Jordan, a staff attorney at ACLU of Illinois.
Some Chicago aldermen support this effort, saying we need to invest more in people, not police. While Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she agrees with activists, she stopped short of saying money spent on expanding city services should come directly from CPD.
“I agree with them; we have to do better and focus city resources on those most important items and initiatives that we know are core to creating vibrant and healthy communities,” Lightfoot said.
The Fraternal Order of Police called the push to defund the department “ridiculous,” saying it’s especially concerning considering the state of Chicago.
“You defund the police, there’s nobody there; god only knows what would happen,” FOP President John Catanara said. ”In a city that’s plagued with homicides… go ahead and defund the police, what do you think that number is going to balloon to?”
The Chicago Police Department’s budget is about 15 percent of the city’s total budget. That’s right in line with Los Angeles, but much higher than New York City. Both of those city’s mayors have pledged to cut police funding and redirect that money to social services.
President Donald Trump expressed his opposition to the idea on Monday, tweeting: “Law and order, no defund and abolish the police. The radical left Democrats have gone crazy!”
A statement issued by a spokesperson for presidential candidate, Joe Biden, states that the Democrat does not support defunding of police — but is focused on the need to reform.