Police Accountability Forum - Milwaukee Feb 20

Event Dates: 
02/20/21

Sat Feb 20, 10 am Police Accountability Forum on Zoom

The Martin Luther King Justice Coalition and Peace Action of WI will present a program on how we can transform policing in our community from a militaristic approach to  community based solutions to law enforcement problems.

 Hyper-policing, incarceration, surveillance, police racism and violence have devastated Milwaukee, increasing the level of violence, rather than providing solutions. The examples of police murder of Joel Acevedo in Milwaukee and those of Antonio Gonzales, Jay Anderson, and Alvin Cole in Wauwatosa attest to this. 

When we say “Defund the police” we do not mean, find different ways to fund the police. We want fewer police officers on the streets, the removal of their military grade equipment and major checks to be put on their political power. Reforms granting more funding to police departments have been pushed and passed time after time and have failed repeatedly to resolve the problem of police violence.

In Milwaukee, police and sheriff's departments have been vastly overfunded. In the 2021 proposed city budget, the police still take 45% of the total city budget, while health, public works, and neighborhood services remain appallingly underfunded. Over the last five years, the City of Milwaukee police budget has grown by over $70 million. Community organizers and peaceful protestors have demanded that Milwaukee defund the police and sheriff departments  by at least 25%, so that more funding is provided for community resources. 

The Milwaukee Common Council has voted to accept the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) federal grant, a $9.7 million grant to hire 30 more police officers over the next 3 years. This grant is clearly a step back from steady movements to defund the police within Milwaukee and disrespect to a community that has decided we do not need more officers. Despite the loss of 30 officers, the department will still bolster 1,652 officers while still dominating the city budget at the expense of other services. 

We oppose the  Dept. of Defense 1099 Program. This has allowed law-enforcement agencies to purchase surplus military weapons at dramatically discounted prices. As a result, the 1033 program became one of the primary mechanisms that caused hyper-militarization of local and state police agencies across the United States, having transferred $7.4 billion in military gear since the 1990s. We call on our community that has received any weapons of war (tanks, armored personnel carriers, machine guns, grenade launchers, etc.) through this program to document and return those weapons to federal authorities.

The bloated police budget will continue to choke off funds to neighborhood, health, housing, and educational services, which are needed for a peaceful and cooperative community. Violence will continue until we decrease military approaches to community peace-making. For more information on this event - and how to register, see: http://www.peaceactionwi.org/ Or contact: info@peaceactionwi.org