The Real Problem with #DefundthePolice Movement

When you see the Black Lives Matter movement, you might feel touched – humanity’s voice is amplified, upheld by thousands and thousands of Americans in the streets, including your favourite celebrity probably. However, it’s getting confusing. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of a democratic process that fights for people’s lives. But seeing the Minneapolis police department and a black-owned bar burned by the riots really express both the irony of the situation and the lack of trust in the police department. But does fighting against the police really address the real problem?

A follow-up movement called “Defund the Police”, has overwhelmed social media. Activists outraged by George Floyd’s death are calling on US municipal governments to cut police budgets. It aims to redirect some funds from the police departments to other areas such as education and healthcare, while its most radical interpretation includes that police departments should be dismantled and substituted with a social services-based approach. We all agree that education and healthcare are vital to society. However, moving cash from the institution that you don’t trust to a perceived problem doesn’t necessarily mean solving the actual problem.

The US Government’s spending on healthcare and education stands for more than 60% of local general expenditures. Whereas police spending only accounted for 4%. Significant defunding might not support the idea of proactive police practices to prevent crimes. If the aim is to protect the vulnerable, then who is going to do the job if we aren’t also concerned about this how an underfunded police department can do so.

In late 2014, crime rates began to increase in Missouri, after the “Ferguson Unrest” took place. The Ferguson Unrests erupted after public condemnation of a policeman killing a black teenager named Michael Brown in a suburb. The Ferguson Effect in the aftermath of the unrest had led to some officers fearing for their safety in certain situations and foster a sense of “empowerment” among them – including offenders of unlawful acts.

One year later, the number of murders in 56 major cities increased by an average of nearly 17% between 2014-2015, the highest annual increase since the 1980s — and spikes of more than 50% in 12 cities. Many research findings have demonstrated the effectiveness of proactive policing practices, such as targeted patrol, in decreasing crime rates. The effectiveness of these tactics, in effect, relies on the public belief that illegal criminals pose a substantial risk of arrest. Lack of trust in the police can hinder crime prevention, as police departments and communities may end up promoting violence as a form of self-help. Although there is no academic research that adequately proves the relevance between the Ferguson Unrests and the rise of crime in Missouri, this promptly gained some familiarity in recent event.

The point is, whether defunding is realized or not, the ultimate goal is better law enforcement. More funding for social services won’t get along with or even fix bad law enforcement. Indeed, without public trust, proactive police strategies will not be effective, because distrust can lead to self-help; and self-help might lead to violence, and in turn, more crimes.

A friend of mine said that if your aquarium tank is dirty, you might want to check and fix the filter, not remove the fish or replace the tank with a new one. In order to create better law enforcement with less or no police brutality, people should be aware that the government might need to “check and fix the filter” for the long term, by strengthening police curriculums to enforce more ethical and proactive tactics. With all due respect for humanity’s struggle against racism, demonizing the police won’t prevent our friends, family, or children from repeating our horrible history in law enforcement. In fact, that may have led to more innocents falling victim to violent crimes.

George Perry Floyd, Rest in Power.

Tidak ada yang layak diperlakukan secara diskriminatif. Kirim tulisanmu sekarang, karena #YourStoriesMatter dan sekarang adalah #SaatnyaBerhenti.