Fair Budget Coalition Calls for an Immediate Divestment from MPD in FY 21 Budget

CM. Charles Allen CM. Mary Cheh CM. Anita Bonds CM. Vincent C. Gray CM. David Grosso CM. Trayon White, Sr. CM. Robert C. White, Jr. CM. Elissa Silverman CM. Brandon Todd CM. Brianne Nadeau CM. Kenyan McDuffie Chmn. Phil Mendelson

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“The call to defund the police is an abolitionist demand. But it reflects only one aspect of the process represented by the demand. Defunding the police is not simply about withdrawing funding for law enforcement and doing nothing else...It’s about shifting public funds to new services and new institutions--mental health counselors, who can respond to people who are in crisis without arms. It’s about shifting funding to education to housing, to recreation. All of these things help to create security and safety. It’s about learning that safety, safeguarded by violence, is not really safety.” --Angela Davis [20:01]

We stand with Black people nationwide in their calls for abolition. Despite what Mayor Muriel Bowser and Chief Peter Newsham say, Black DC residents continue to experience MPD reigning terror over our neighborhoods while siphoning critical funds from needed community resources.

As perpetrators of criminal injustice they simply do not have the range nor the credibility to engage in this conversation honestly. When Peter Newsham stated last week that, “ [DC Council] forgot about our 20 years of reform and insulted us by insinuating that we are in need of reform,” he was more correct than he knew. It is insulting to DC residents to think that after MPD’s proclaimed 20 years of reform, that we would continue down that failed trajectory. We do not need to reform MPD, we do not need them in our communities at all.

Along with employing racist tactics to incite fear into Black communities, MPD inflicts harm and violence through collaboration with ICE officials, standing against the city’s vows to be a sanctuary for immigrant communities. In addition to continuing the unconstitutional stop and frisk policies, often just by other names (protective pat-downs, and jump-outs), MPD often downplays their data in testimony to the DC Council. However, the steady increase to the MPD budget despite the 20% uptick in use of force from 2017-2018 cannot be ignored. MPD’s violence against Black communities continues to rise despite rising budgets. We cannot train or fund this violence away.

DC has one of the largest disproportionate rates of incarcerated Black people -- 89% of incarcerated DC residents are Black, though Black people only comprise 46% of the DC population. This clearly shows that this system is deeply flawed. If DC were a state, it would have the highest incarceration rate in the country.

Fair Budget Coalition stands with Black Swan Academy’s Campaign for Police Free Schools, Stop Police Terror Project DC’s Calls for Divestment from MPD as well as Black Lives Matter DC’s Campaign to Defund Police. We support Black leadership and believe that political alignment with Black Lives Matter is empty without answering the larger calls to defund MPD. For us that means that FY21 divestments to MPD are just a beginning to rejecting our deep investments into the carceral state.

We live in an age of mass incarceration, detention and deportation and the resulting harm to communities. All of these work in tandem to make our communities less safe. To achieve Community Safety, FBC believes in a District that respects the lives and dignity of all people and offers community-centered solutions to violence that do not rely on law enforcement. FBC supports programs that divert people away from our justice system, supports victims and survivors of crime, and decriminalizes poverty.

Fair Budget Coalition is a Black led organization made up of over 50 organizational members, dozens of individual members, and dozens Constituent Leaders. These stakeholders represent DC residents and workers who fight for a fair budget every year. Funding our communities is deeply personal to us as a Coalition and as an all-Black staff. We are absolutely clear that investments or disinvestments made through the budget are the political statements that have meaning and consequences, while the tweets and public statements of support are meaningless without clear action on DC’s budget.  

To us, a fair budget funds housing, healthcare, food access and equity, economic justice, and community safety. Every year we see those budgets pitted against each other while MPD’s budget continues to grow. If we truly believe Black Lives Matter we must reconcile our budget decisions with how we fund our communities.

We call for an abolition of MPD, DC Jail, and the systems that are intertwined with both. To that end, we need to see the immediate cuts from MPD’s FY21 and a reinvestment back into the communities that have been most harmed by MPD. We call on the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety and the Committee on Education to listen to what Black DC residents are saying and think about what it means to be Black and safe, queer and safe, poor and safe with a police force intent on criminalizing and enacting violence on these very communities.  

To begin this work of defunding MPD we call for the following cuts to be made immediately to the FY21 Budget:


  • $18M from MPD to halt any proposed increase to the budget

  • $50M to prevent MPD from filling any MPD vacancies

  • $11M to eliminate School Resource Officers from DC Schools

    • Asking to redirect $23M from Education that is an interagency transfer to MPD for School Resource Officers


Total Cuts: $79M from MPD, $23M to be redirected from SROs to other Education needs

What will we do without the police? Well, we can invest in the programs and resources that our communities need.


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To: CM. Charles Allen CM. Mary Cheh CM. Anita Bonds CM. Vincent C. Gray CM. David Grosso CM. Trayon White, Sr. CM. Robert C. White, Jr. CM. Elissa Silverman CM. Brandon Todd CM. Brianne Nadeau CM. Kenyan McDuffie Chmn. Phil Mendelson
From: [Your Name]

We stand with Black people nationwide in their calls for abolition. Despite what Mayor Muriel Bowser and Chief Peter Newsham say, Black DC residents continue to experience MPD reigning terror over our neighborhoods while siphoning critical funds from needed community resources.

As perpetrators of criminal injustice they simply do not have the range nor the credibility to engage in this conversation honestly. When Peter Newsham stated last week that, “ [DC Council] forgot about our 20 years of reform and insulted us by insinuating that we are in need of reform,” he was more correct than he knew. It is insulting to DC residents to think that after MPD’s proclaimed 20 years of reform, that we would continue down that failed trajectory. We do not need to reform MPD, we do not need them in our communities at all.

Along with employing racist tactics to incite fear into Black communities, MPD inflicts harm and violence through collaboration with ICE officials, standing against the city’s vows to be a sanctuary for immigrant communities. In addition to continuing the unconstitutional stop and frisk policies, often just by other names (protective pat-downs, and jump-outs), MPD often downplays their data in testimony to the DC Council. However, the steady increase to the MPD budget despite the 20% uptick in use of force from 2017-2018 cannot be ignored. MPD’s violence against Black communities continues to rise despite rising budgets. We cannot train or fund this violence away.

DC has one of the largest disproportionate rates of incarcerated Black people -- 89% of incarcerated DC residents are Black, though Black people only comprise 46% of the DC population. This clearly shows that this system is deeply flawed. If DC were a state, it would have the highest incarceration rate in the country.

We stand with The Fair Budget Coalition, Black Swan Academy’s Campaign for Police Free Schools, Stop Police Terror Project DC’s Calls for Divestment from MPD as well as Black Lives Matter DC’s Campaign to Defund Police. We support Black leadership and believe that political alignment with Black Lives Matter is empty without answering the larger calls to defund MPD. For us that means that FY21 divestments to MPD are just a beginning to rejecting our deep investments into the carceral state.