Black communities are still enduring racism from police systems in 2021.
This year during Black history month, the Durham police mocked the Black community by ‘patrolling’ in cars designed with Black leaders like Martin Luther King and Harriet Tubman.
These are the same cars that racially profile Black people.
In 2018, a report from the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) discovered Black residents in Toronto are 20 times more likely to be killed by police than white people.
The OHRC report found a “lack of legal basis” for police stopping or detaining Black people to search, charge or arrest them for reasons that are “unjustified,” “unnecessary” and “inappropriate.”
To simplify this, the police doing traffic stops and patrol watches over Black people in “diversity inclusive cars” is a waste of money.
The police cannot ‘stand-by’ the Black community through performative acts and then kill and arrest those same people using those same cars.
This is sickening and contradictory.
The police must be defunded because the money should be used for other resources in communities that police are policing.
To understand this concept, the origins of the police must be looked at.
Toronto created its first police department in 1835, one year after Canada officially abolished slavery.
It was inspired by French and British policing systems that were colonizing Indigenous populations in Canada and continuing the enslavement of Black people.
Robyn Maynard, author of Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present wrote when slavery was abolished police institutions “took on the role of exerting control over Black people.”
The mentality of asserting power and dominance over Black people has been instilled in police organizations and is the driving force behind racism from the police today.
People need to wake up and defund the police.
The Durham police’s annual budget is $221 million and Toronto’s is $1.22 billion.
This accounts for Toronto’s $13.53 billion operational budget.
Let that sink in.
All this money, yet police officers resort to violence when dealing with cases such as drugs, mental wellness checks, etc.
The money should go to different organizations that tackle these issues.
The OHRC report said, “Black residents in Toronto only make up 8.8 per cent of the city’s population but account for 61 per cent of cases in which police used force that led to death and 70 per cent of all cases where a police shooting resulted in death.”
The inefficient use of police budgets results in the death and injury of countless numbers of Black people.
Instead of policing communities that have problems, use the money to get to the root of those issues to prevent it from occurring or worsening.
Desmond Cole, author of The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power provided examples to support this concept. He said if there is a drug problem in the city, use the money to help people with addiction treatment. If there are homeless people, use the money to build affordable homes.
Cole also said police officers patrol in poor communities looking for people to arrest.
Build better schools, strengthen mental health services, create job opportunities. Give communities the resources needed to do better, rather than waiting to arrest people.
Police officers have this image of keeping people safe but do quite the contrary.
Black people feel unsafe when police are around. Some are triggered hearing the word ‘police’ and talking about the subject.
People turn to Black communities and ask, “what do we do?”
The answer is simple.
Stop asking Black people what the solution is when the solution has been expressed throughout many decades.
The police were never designed to protect the Black community, so funding this system shouldn’t be continued in the extent that it is today.
The Durham and Toronto police must be defunded and the money should be distributed to helping uplift Black communities from oppression.