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‘Defund the police’: Alderman, activists call for Chicago to cut CPD funding

By Will Jones, ABC7 News

Calls for police reform are growing after the death of George Floyd sparked protests in Chicago and across the country.

The push to cut police funding and shift resources to community-based services is gaining momentum. On Sunday, a majority of the Minneapolis City Council vowed to disband the city’s police department.

Northwest Side Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez said she’s in favor of defunding the Chicago Police Department.

“We have to consider how much money are we willing to continue to spend in an institution that isn’t definitely not working for most of us,” she said. “I think it is a beautiful time to imagine what is possible.”

Activist Ja’Mal Green said “people are finally understanding what’s going on in communities of color all over the country.”

“We have 50 states where people are showing their solidarity, no matter who they are, no matter what background they come from,” Green said.

The Chicago Police Department’s budget is $1.78 billion. The city’s total budget is $11.65 billion.

“So if we say we care about people and their well-being, so if we say that black lives matter, so if we say we want to have healthy communities then we have to invest in the things that actually make people safe, happy and feel protected,” said Rodriguez Sanchez.

So what would defunding police departments mean for fighting crime?

“We have been pouring more and more resources into our police forces and we are not any safer than we were before,” said Elizabeth Jordan of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. “This is about imagining what a public safety effort looks like that is community led.”

The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police said in a statement, “‘defunding the police’ is a catchy phrase, but it does not capture the complexities and the harm to individuals that would result in actually doing that… We believe that building relationships and building trust is a much better approach.”

This article originally appeared on ABC7 News Chicago.

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