Mayor Lyda Krewson, Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, Comptroller Darlene Green, and Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards

The brutal killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have sparked the largest mobilization against police violence in the history of the United States. For weeks, St. Louis has stood in solidarity and mobilized thousands into the streets to demand justice and transformation for our communities.

For St. Louisans, this moment reminds us of the uprising that captured the attention of the nation in 2014. Mike Brown, Kajieme Powell, Vonderrit Myers, Kiwi Herring, Anthony Lamar Smith, and far too many others killed by the police have sparked cycles of community protest and then inaction by our civic leaders in St. Louis.

What remains clear is that systemic racism is alive and well in our region’s police departments. The time for change is now. This petition lays out the 5 immediate first steps on the critical journey for St. Louis City to divest from and defund racist systems, reimagine public safety, and equitably invest in community well-being.

We need nothing short of bold, transformative policy

Nothing short of bold, transformative policy and systems change will ensure justice and restoration for Black communities in the St. Louis region. The demand is simple—defund the police and invest in our communities.

It’s time for decisive action that makes St. Louis a national leader in reimagining public safety. We must leave behind predatory policing that disproportionately arrests and incarcerates Black residents and replace it with targeted investment into neglected communities, anti-racist policies and practices, and government transparency and accountability.

While we work to dramatically decrease this region’s overreliance on police, there are 5 immediate actions that leadership in St. Louis City must take as the first steps on the journey to correct and repair St. Louis’ history of racial injustice.  

  • We demand that no CARES Act funds for COVID-19 relief go to the police department.
    It is particularly egregious that during a pandemic—where Black St. Louisans have disproportionately been sickened due to racist health inequities and when resources should be supporting communities devastated by COVID-19—that money is being allocated to the police, a system that also enforces systemic racism.

  • We demand that the Workhouse jail be closed immediately and that the money be targeted to programs and initiatives that benefit North St. Louis City.
    In our effort to defund racist systems and redesign public safety, the Workhouse should be the first to go. The funds saved should not be used for policing and the arrest and incarcerate system. All funds should be redirected to root cause and equity focused initiatives that benefit Black St. Louisans.

  • We demand the immediate suspension of contract negotiations with the St. Louis Police Officers Association until the current version of the pending contract is released and there are multiple opportunities for public comment and oversight.
    Police Union Contracts have and continue to serve as barriers to police officer accountability, and ultimately barriers to justice in cases of police brutality. There is no path to accountability, when there is a lack of transparency and radical listening to affected community input.

  • We demand the immediate release of the full, most detailed, unredacted, line-item budget for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Dept. for years 2015-2021. These should be released and made easily accessible to the general public for an urgent community conversation on defunding and reinvestment in non-police alternatives.
    It’s undemocratic and unaccountable for City public safety leaders to refuse to share a full line-item policing budget with the Board of Alderman and with the public. Our budgets reflect our values. A look at the St. Louis City budget shows that since 2014 the share of the general fund has increased from 31% to 34% while spending on essential services, systems, and infrastructure have largely stayed stagnant. This has not increased safety for communities of color. Health at Human Services receives only 0.3% of the general fund, and the Affordable Housing Trust Fund is only just above the minimum funding requirement.

  • We demand a budget and hiring freeze for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
    Adding more officers to the department will not make St. Louis safer. Studies of 911 calls show that stopping violent crime is a small fraction, about 4%, of what officers respond to in their jobs. However, racial disparities show up in all police responses for service, regardless of whether it’s a traffic ticket, mental health episode, or noise complaint. Functions currently performed badly by police need to be accomplished through new community-based initiatives.


       - Action St. Louis                                                                                - Organization for Black Struggle

      - Forward Through Ferguson                                                           - Grassroots Accountability Movement

       - Arch City Defenders                                                                       - Missouri Jobs with Justice

       - Deaconess Foundation                                                                  - Empower Missouri

       - United Congregations of the Metro East                                     - WEPOWER

       - Congregation of Sisters of Loretto & Loretto Co-members     - Metropolitan Congregations United

       - Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression                        - The Peace Economy Project

Sponsored by

To: Mayor Lyda Krewson, Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, Comptroller Darlene Green, and Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards
From: [Your Name]

These demands are from the people of St. Louis. Become familiar with them.