Protests in the United States – The police reform – or abolish it entirely?Among the protesters in the US, the call is louder, to emphasize to the police the means. What is meant by the Slogan “Defund the police” – and how it shapes already in the election campaign.Alan Cassidy from Washington1 Kommentar1Als you wanted to the criticism of the protesters to underline: In the case of the protests in the US, police are more brutal against participants, here in Minneapolis.Photo: Reuters

The protesters wrote the slogan on signs and protective masks, and in Washington, you have him painted on the Asphalt, in big yellow letters, and in sight of the White house. “Defund the police” sweeps the police the means.

Where: A saying not long ago, much more of a requirement that is becoming increasingly louder. It shapes the debate over police brutality that erupted after the death of the African-American George Floyd, and she has already found entry into the presidential campaign.

prevention rather than against

What “Defund the police” is concrete, however, is rarely clear. Many of the protesters mean by police reforms, which are also – but not only – about the Budgets controlled. The police forces are to be cut, money put in return in social services, in the prevention rather than in the combating of crime so.

Other demonstrators in my “Defund the police”, by contrast, quite literally. If you want to resolve today’s police forces and, in principle, on a Vision of society to debate, the freedom from violence to the Supreme goal.

culture war

Agree both currents are in the diagnosis: The United States is “overpoliced”, there are too many policemen, who were equipped with too many weapons and too many tasks have taken over. “We invest very much in the police, which solves little problems, and often makes them worse,” said the democratic Senator Cory Booker. Across the country there are around 18’000 police authorities, which operate largely independently.

According to the data of the think tank Urban Institute, Federal States and municipalities spent in 2017, $ 115 billion for police tasks. A large part of this money flows into the salaries of the officers, but many police forces use the funds also to upgrade, with weapons and vehicles from the inventory of the Pentagon, for example. This material militarization have also rubbed off on the culture of the police authorities, critics say. Each year, approximately 1000 Americans are killed in police operations. Conversely, the profession of police officers in the United States is also more dangerous than elsewhere: Since the year 2000, more than 2500 officers have died in the service.

“Serve and protect” is a mockery

In the social media also make daily new Videos to the round, the police show how you act with shocking brutality against demonstrators. In the city of Buffalo officials met with a 75-year-old man, who bounced his head on the road and lost consciousness. In New York, an official crack a protesters the protection mask from the face and sprayed him with pepper spray in the eyes. Another berated a young woman as a “fucking bitch” and threw her to the ground. The Motto “serve and protect” – to protect and serve – on many police cars, feels like a mockery.

so What should you do? In many cities, and also in the US Congress, democratic politicians take the current debate as an occasion to renew demands, which are partly already older. To do this, small steps: the prohibition in the Grip of, the many police practice forces, and the introduction of a national database for officials against whom complaints of misconduct are received, include. This also includes the restriction of legal immunity for police officers and a ban on the procurement of military equipment belong to.

And these are measures that can, in fact, as the “defunding the police” to describe belong. In Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti wants to cut $ 150 million from the budget of the police and in schools and social institutions in disadvantaged areas, invest.

“Our politicians have left many problems for the police.”

Alex Vitale, a sociologist and criminologist

With small steps, it is no longer done, let’s say, however, more radical voices. They point to the example of Minneapolis. There, the police had improved the training of their officers, body cameras have been purchased and the dialogue with the inhabitants sought – and still have since died, several people according to police operations, the last of George Floyd.

This will only change if you think the police are entirely new, says the criminologist Alex Vitale, one of the thought leaders of the “Defund the police”movement. Only by pranks their Budgets together, forcing the police to reduce their tasks. Many of the Attacks were traced back to the fact that the officials are the first point of contact for all sorts of problems: in the schools, homeless, or in the drug scene. “These are all problems that have left our politicians just the police,” says Vitale.

police officers are popular

This requirement may be in left circles popular – with many other Americans, you is not it however. According to a survey conducted by the Civis Institute, by 2019 a majority of the population wants in their Quarters more police officers are on the go, even 58 percent of African Americans supported.

it also explains why Donald Trump and his supporters have taken up the Cries of “Defund the police” immediately and as a proof of the high keep, what they wanted to make the Democrats out of the United States: a anarchy. And it explains why the democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden from the requirement to delete police Central, has distanced them – at least for now.

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