LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Across the country thousands of people continue to protest police brutality and some are calling on cities to defund the police.
“Our city has all but forgotten the black community as far as I’m concerned,” said Michael Lynn. He was involved in the online Black Lives Matter Lansing conversation on Wednesday.
The discussion was about racial injustices and Lansing community leaders were on the call. During this conversation, attention was brought to defunding the police.
“21% of 229 million dollars is going to this police force,” Lynn said.
The national Black Lives Matter organization is calling for communities across the country to defund the police and demand investment in their communities and resources to ensure black people not only survive but thrive.
But what does defund mean? Getting rid of police all together?
President Trump expressed his opposition to the movement and said, “They are saying defund the police. Think of it. When I saw it I said what are you talking about. We don’t want to have any police they say.”
One person on the call said the goal not to get rid of the police, but limit their funding.
“And put that money back into city organizations and city outreach to stop the violence and stop the things from going on so you can stop over-policing our children,” said Lynn.
The mayor’s office didn’t get back to us on Friday, but on Wednesday he had this to say.
“You want to have a conversation, it’s not just cutting 20%, it’s where are we going to cut that from, what important services that they provide are going to be cut. so that’s a conversation well have continually over the next months and year,” said Mayor Andy Schor.
Attorney General Dana Nessel believes in better funding in police departments.
She told 6 News: “Of course we need better training on implicit bias for police. Of course, we need to work harder to diversify police departments all over the state and country. But we also need to incentivize working in law enforcement so that we are better able to recruit the best and the brightest to serve. That means better wages, health insurance, retirement benefits. More resources for training and PPE for our men and women in blue. The ugly truth is that police departments have a difficult time diversifying and recruiting POC because better career opportunities can be found at the neighborhood Verizon store than at the local PD. And we will never truly have healthy relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve without proper representation of those communities actually working on the force. We need to invest in law enforcement so that law enforcement can better serve the public.
Some cities are already making changes. In Los Angles, the mayor announced the city would abruptly reverse plans for boosting police spending. Instead, he is redirecting $250 million from the city budget into programs for health care, jobs, and healing aimed largely at the black community.