Stop Police Helicopters In Our Black and Brown Neighborhoods
On Friday, March 26, 2021, our Black and Brown communities were once again targeted and surveilled by the GRPD and their collaborators at Michigan State Police. This intrusion into our neighborhoods is outrageous, as the police targeted Black and Brown neighborhoods exclusively.
- People complained online and in-person that their neighborhoods had been turned into a militarized zone and a police state.
- Veterans and others with PTSD were unable to rest and there is reason to believe that some had significant mental health difficulties that night and during the following weekend.
- Families who have lost members to gun violence are retraumatized by the presence of the helicopters. Who is accounting for the harm done?
- Not only is there little solid evidence that helicopters are effective in crime prevention or deterrence, many of the behaviors that are criminalized are better addressed with community care and accountability.
- Increased surveillance is not the answer and uses up precious resources that belong to the community.
- Though arrest numbers may have risen, giving the false impression to some that the helicopters are making the community safer, many of the charges are the kind that result from over-policing and are about engagement with the police themselves: Fleeing and Eluding, Resisting and Obstructing, etc.
- The GRPD has touted their community engagement before they deployed helicopters and has said that the community wanted this. Not only is this self-selected to residents who are comfortable talking to officials, but no other options or frameworks are being offered to address the community's fears, such as community care, restorative justice, youth programs, and other options known to increase community safety and cohesion.
We demand transparency as to the cost to city taxpayers of extra patrols and helicopters. We demand that we defund the GRPD and return the funds for these costly measures to the communities where they belong, so they can be used for healing. And we demand that GRPD stop the helicopters and surveillance of Black and Brown communities!