ARIZONA NEWS

Black Lives Matter wants Phoenix to rethink police spending, role

Jun 10, 2020, 1:48 PM | Updated: 6:49 pm
Black Lives Matter...
Protesters hold up signs during a march at Encanto Park in Phoenix on June 7, 2020. (KTAR News Photo/Taylor Kinnerup)
(KTAR News Photo/Taylor Kinnerup)

PHOENIX – A local Black Lives Matter activist said Phoenix protesters want the city and state to rethink the role of law enforcement and how it’s funded.

“An expensive militarized police force is no longer justifiable,” Jamaar Williams of Black Lives Matter Metro Phoenix told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Wednesday.

“We live a state that spends over $1 billion on a prison system while our teachers ask for money on Facebook. That’s absolutely embarrassing.”

Black Lives Matter and other local organizers have been leading protests against police brutality and racial inequality in Phoenix and across the Valley for two weeks in the wake of George Floyd’s in-custody death in Minnesota.

One of the things protesters in Arizona and across the nation have been advocating is to “defund the police,” a rallying cry seen as controversial and extreme by some.

Williams, a public defense attorney, explained the concept, saying he’d like to see Phoenix move some of the $745 million it spends on police to other programs that would improve residents’ lives and reduce the need for law enforcement.

“Why can’t we envision a world where we don’t need police?,” he said. “Isn’t that what we all want?”

He said he wants Phoenix to reallocate funds from the police department to address issues such as food deserts, lack of affordable housing, the homeless population, unemployment, public transportation and arts programs.

Williams said the law enforcement system in place doesn’t work anymore.

“We need to move beyond this idea of punitive justice and replace it with restorative justice, transformative justice, a system that actually helps heal and doesn’t create more harm and more violence in its response to harm and violence,” he said.

Williams, who said he’s never called the police, doesn’t buy the argument that the current system is vital for preventing crimes.

“When you get your house broken into, you call police, they come after the fact. What you need is someone actually just to write a report so you can get it to your insurance company, so you can get your stuff replaced,” he said.

“Or someone’s long gone by the time police come, and what you need is someone to help you feel safe again or someone to counsel you through the trauma you just experienced. Police don’t serve those needs.”

Williams also believes that if governments spent more on mental health services, it would reduce what they’d need spend on incarceration.

“We’ve replaced our mental health system in this nation with local jails and prisons, and there was no reason for us to do that,” he said.

“It bolstered a … police state that we no longer have a use for and that we keep dumping millions and millions of dollars into. We need to rethink that idea.”

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook Photo/Brophy College Preparatory)...
Associated Press

Brophy College Prep in Phoenix reports widespread cheating

The principal of Brophy College Preparatory says the prestigious private Phoenix high school has learned of “widespread even pervasive” cheating in its all-male student body.
22 hours ago
Clouds pass over drought-stricken Lake Mead on May 10, 2022 in the Lake Mead National Recreation Ar...
Associated Press

Tucson willing to take 20% less water to help Lake Mead shortage

The Tucson City Council included its potential willingness to take 20% less CAP water to keep more in the reservoir.
22 hours ago
(Facebook photo / State Farm Stadium)...
Associated Press

Glendale adopts new short-term rental regulations ahead of Super Bowl

Glendale has preemptively adopted rules regulating short-term rental properties before the city welcomes visitors for the 2023 Super Bowl.
22 hours ago
(Pexels photo)...
KTAR.com

Arizona sees significant jobs increase in April, per employment report

The state of Arizona saw a 13,100 jobs increase in the month of April, according to the Arizona Commerce Authority's monthly report.
22 hours ago
(Pexels photo)...
KTAR.com

Rio Salado’s Dental Clinic offering free dental work to Arizona’s veterans on Saturday

Arizona's veterans can receive free dental cleanings, dentures, fillings, oral surgery and crowns Saturday at Rio Salado’s Dental Clinic.
22 hours ago
A 9mm pistol build kit with a commercial slide and barrel with a polymer frame is displayed during ...
KTAR.com

Felon from Arizona convicted of firearm, ammo possession, including ‘ghost gun’

An Arizona felon was found guilty of illegally possessing over 20 firearms, including a “ghost gun,” and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Have you gotten your booster shot?

Do you remember when you got your last COVID-19 vaccination? If it has been more than five months since you completed your primary vaccination series, it’s time for you to get your booster. You may be eligible even sooner depending which vaccine you received. If you are over the age of 50 and received your […]
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to in April

April brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Suns and Diamondbacks.
Black Lives Matter wants Phoenix to rethink police spending, role