Last week, I asked you to contact the D.C. Council to tell them to reject the Mayor's $18.5 million increase to the D.C. Police Department's budget and take meaningful steps to divest from policing in the District's FY 2021 Budget. Many of you did, but the Council still needs to hear from you!
Email your councilmembers today and urge them to show through their budget decisions, and not just their words, that Black Lives Matter. <[link removed]>
Last Thursday, I testified before the D.C. Council on the need to end D.C.'s over-reliance on police and reinvest those funds in communities. I shared a few examples of how the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) continues to inflict harm on communities despite years of police reforms and accountability measures, including:
* MPD officers have been repeatedly caught glorifying police violence, including an officer wearing a T-shirt to court with the slogan "POLICE BRUTALITY, OR DOING WHAT THEIR PARENTS SHOULD HAVE."
* Use-of-force incidents by MPD officers almost doubled in the span of three years between 2015 and 2018, with 90 percent of that use of force against Black people. Three incidents in 2018 resulted in the deaths of three Black men – Jeffery Price, D'Quan Young, and Marqueese Alston.
* Just last week, we released a report analyzing MPD's stop-and-frisk practices over a five-month period. Our report revealed both racially disparate and ineffective police practices. Despite Black residents making up 46 percent of the population, 72 percent of adults stopped by police were Black, 89 percent of youth under 18 stopped were Black, and despite MPD's claim that their enforcement is focused on gun recovery, only 0.6 percent of all stops resulted in the seizure of guns.
Despite all of the above, MPD Chief Newsham recently told his entire force that the D.C. Council had "insulted [MPD] by insinuating that we are in need of reform."
It's time to move beyond reforms. It's time to divest from MPD and reinvest in communities. If not now, when?
Will you take 2 minutes to contact the D.C. Council right now? <[link removed]>
Thank you for your support right now and always,
Executive Director, ACLU of the District of Columbia