We, the family of Luis Góngora Pat, Mayan indigenous people living in San Francisco; survivors of lethal SFPD brutality; a family of essential workers and Dreamers, publish this statement to honor the life of Luis and ensure that his unjustifiable killing by Sgt. Nate Steger and Ofc. Michael Mellone on April 7, 2016 is remedied by putting an end to police violence and impunity in this City.
We support the Black Lives Matter movement and join the public call to significantly defund the police. Unfortunately, Mayor London Breed’s response to the people’s demand falls disappointingly short by maintaining a bloated police budget of $674,194,131 for FY 2020-2021 and $675,774,373 for FY 2021-2022. This represents a 56.6 percent increase from the police budget of 10 years ago, a 75.8 percent increase from 12 years ago, and only an insignificant -2.6 percent decrease from last year’s 2019-2020 budget. A token budget shift will only result in the perpetuation of police violence and criminalization of Black, Indigenous, People of Color, transgendered, and homeless peoples in this City.
While we commend Mayor Breed on committing to a multi-year strategy to decrease over-policing of the Black community and repair the legacy of racially disparate policies on health, housing, and economic outcomes, the $120.0M that the Mayor allocated to this purpose will not—by the numbers presented—be funded significantly by proposed cuts to law enforcement budgets. Moreover, only an approximate $6.0M over two years of promised funds will be dedicated to a planning process for—but not implementation of—diversion of non-emergency, low priority calls from law-enforcement to non-law enforcement agencies.
This is not progress. It isn’t even change. It is the conservation of legacy policing.
The budget process also comes in the midst of a pandemic when we need to find more cost savings to prevent massive austerity cuts to social safety net programs. The proposed budget cuts of 2.62 percent to the police and 5.7 percent to the sheriff’s budget from last year are less than the steeper budget cuts being faced by 21 other departments which include the Department of Police Accountability (-9.10 percent), Children, Youth and Families (-7.78 percent), Status of Women (-3.15 percent), and the San Francisco Public Library (-17 percent).
DIVEST FROM POLICE
We call upon the Board of Supervisors Budget Committee to respond to the historic public demand to divest from legacy policing by significantly reducing the City’s law enforcement budgets and refunding the City’s safety social net. Through the efforts of a broad coalition of organizations, potential cuts from the proposed police and sheriff budgets representing over $512.0M have been identified.
While all these cuts may not be immediately possible, we urge you to start by eliminating new police recruits and academy classes. We also do not need police in schools and public housing, nor sheriffs in public clinics and hospitals. And, we must end the police units that have historically targeted Black, Indigenous and Peoples of Color including plainclothes officers, homeless and “healthy streets” units, gang units and narcotics units. More can and must be more done by the City’s elected officials to divest from police.
INVEST IN BLACK LIVES
Defunding the police is a call to reimagine community wellbeing by reimagining public safety and public health.
Defunding the police is a call to take away responsibilities and roles from law enforcement that should be the purview of social workers, mental health workers, and community advocates skilled in resolving conflict without the use of force and guns.
Defunding the police is a call to divert significant budgetary resources from law enforcement agencies towards community-informed alternatives to policing and services most needed by Black, Indigenous and People of Color, transgender and unhoused peoples of this City.
Defunding the police means putting those funds into early care and education; housing, eviction prevention, and homelessness services; food security, health and wellness; youth and young adults; support for marginalized communities; public safety and health alternatives to policing; and non-profit community partner sustainability.
In remembrance of Luis Góngora Pat, Mario Woods, Jessica Williams, Alex Nieto, Amilcar Perez Lopez, Adolfo Delgado Duarte, and the many others unjustifiably executed and maimed by SFPD.
Invest in the Lives and Futures of Black, Indigenous, People of Color.
No justice, no peace.