Today Black leaders and 1st Ward Council Member Brandon Betz introduced a plan called ‘The Resolution to Invest in the People of Lansing’.
Activists with Black Lives Matter say this moment has been years in the making.
“It may seem like this defund campaign came out of nowhere but it came from years of understanding and studying where the barriers in our system were and how our black young people where being targeted in this community,” said Angela Waters Austin the CEO of One Love Global and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Lansing and Michigan chapters.
Under this proposal, an ad-hoc committee would be formed to study ways to cut the Lansing Police Department’s budget in half over a period of five years.
People who serve in the committee would be responsible for finding ways to re-invest funds into programs that reduce poverty and benefit black and brown communities.
Austin Waters says this is the first step in stopping police brutality.
“We say that this is an end to using our tax dollars to confine us, to over police us, and to brutalize us,” she said.
Members will also be tasked with finding more effective ways of responding to emergencies without violence. Betz says he plans to formally get the ball rolling at next week’s city council meeting.
Capitol City Labor Program, Inc, the union that represents the Lansing Police Dept. told 6 News they are open to implementing change that results in safer and more efficient policing. But, the union did not say if it supports cutting the department’s budget. You can read their full statement below: