Don't let Wall Street Profit from Police Brutality

Various mayors and county officials

Police Brutality Bonds facilitate a cycle of economic and physical violence in black and brown neighborhoods. Sign this petition to call on the elected officials in these places to adopt our demands and put an end to this practice!

To: Various mayors and county officials
From: [Your Name]

Dear Elected Official -

I am deeply concerned that your government has been allowing Wall Street to profit from police brutality and police killings. A new report by the Action Center on Race and the Economy details how banks and investors are making more than $891 million in profit when cities and counties borrow to pay for police misconduct settlements. This lets bad cops off the hook and it is a double whammy for over-policed communities of color who then have to suffer cuts in services to pay this Wall Street profit.

I am calling on you to:

Defund police departments and invest in community safety. In order to limit or eliminate the scale and presence of policing in communities, police budgets must be reduced or eliminated. We endorse calls to defund police departments as a step toward abolishing the existing system of policing. This divestment from police budgets must coincide with public investment into necessary community support and safety infrastructure in communities that have been harmed by centuries of racist policing.

If cities must borrow to pay for settlements and judgments, the Federal Reserve should lend them that money without charging interest or fees. Cities must pay settlements and judgments when police have harmed people. But neither banks and other firms, nor private investors, should be allowed to continue to make a profit from police violence. If cities are unable to pay for their settlements and judgments and have to resort to borrowing, the Federal Reserve Bank should lend them that money without charging interest or fees. This would not directly cost the federal government anything since the money will eventually be paid back, but it will remove the profit from police brutality bonds.

Governmental bodies at the local, state, and federal levels must account for and provide full transparency about the total costs of policing. Other costs, such as building, maintaining, and operating police facilities, the costs of equipment such as surveillance technologies and helicopters, or the legal costs of defending officers accused of misconduct, may not be included in the official police budget. Contracts for school police or transit police may also be listed in separate budgets. As we move to defund police, we need government bodies to provide a full accounting and disclosure of all the money they are allocating to policing of all kinds, whether that money comes from tax dollars, asset forfeiture, revenue generated by traffic enforcement cameras, federal or state grants, corporate donations, or any other source.