Tell Mayor Kenney: We won't stop until you #DefundThePolice.

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Wednesday night after 11pm, City Council voted to approve an amendment to the City of Philadelphia’s budget - one that looked, on the surface, to reduce funding to the Philadelphia Police, the most lavishly funded department in the city, by $33 million dollars.  

But if you look closely, the vast majority of those cuts are just revoking the proposed increase for the department of $19 million dollars, put forward by Mayor Kenney in May, and moving crossing guards and traffic enforcement officers to the Managing Director’s office.

This is not #DefundThePolice. This is collusion between the Mayor’s Office and the Fraternal Order of Police. Council and the Mayor have been pressured to do something in response to the tens of thousands of Philadelphians on our streets for the past three weeks - the vibrant, visionary and united movement we are seeing across Philadelphia and around the world. Yet at a time of unimaginable austerity for Black and brown communities, this kind of shell game with our resources is an insult. Not increasing the police budget isn’t enough.

This proposed police budget does nothing to invest winding down how armed officers disrupt our communities. It does nothing to replace police with community-based crisis support that would prevent deaths, and lives lost to criminalization and mass incarceration. It does nothing to actually empower our community to have real oversight and increase transparency. It just reveals budget accounting tricks - we are not fooled.

Mayor Kenney and Managing Director Abernathy should be ashamed. We are done with the power that FOP chief John McNesby and the FOP have over this city. Before this budget is passed, we will continue to demand that Kenney and Abernathy cut the police budget by $120 million and #defundthepolice.

The seeds of community-based visions of safety have always existed in our families and neighborhoods. But over the next year, and as we approach the next budget season and the next Fraternal Order of Police contract, we know that making these visions clear, concrete, and grounded, and defining exactly what community safety looks like in our city, is our task and responsibility.

Over the next weeks, months, and years, our tasks will be to dig deep with our communities to craft what solutions to community harm and violence look like without the police, and to continue pressure this fall and in the next budget season to reinvest money from policing into the community resources Black and brown neighborhoods need to be safe and whole. We will fight to make sure no federal dollars go to shore up policing, prisons, or prosecution in our city. We will fight to make sure that departments which surveil our people and militarize our communities can’t sneak a budget transfer in this fall.

The rage in the streets will not abate until policing is a thing of the past. The changes we see tonight show that our voices have power, but we must continue to push for a vision where we can respond to crisis and needs without armed officers in our streets and homes. We will not stop until we #defundthepolice.

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