Romero pointed to the fact that nationwide, we spend $100 billion dollars on policing; in Minneapolis, 30% of the city budget goes to the police department; and that in New York City, the NYPD gets more money than homeless services, housing, preservation, and development, and the health department combined.
But a root cause of these issues is outsize police budgets, which are holding strong or in some cases growing bigger even as cities slash funding for other departments in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We don’t need to bring another race discrimination or gender discrimination lawsuit to integrate the police department,” Romero continued.
But after witnessing the protests—and the police response—across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death, ACLU executive director Anthony Romero says his organization’s main focus now will be on defunding police department budgets.
Romero gave some hints: “Bills dropped in local legislatures that cut the funding for police, stop these programs that give the federal military surplus to police departments, so they become like little mini armies,” he said.