Editorial

EDITORIAL: Is Full Funding for Police the Answer Following the George Floyd Killing?

Ever since a Minnesota police officer killed George Floyd, the call for defunding the police has grown louder across the country. Few cities were exempt from police-involved killings of Black men or women, including here in the Nation’s capital, where Black Lives Matter advocates demanded less police funding and more resources to help protect victims of police-involved murders.

In the aftermath of the officer convicted for killing Floyd, there has been an incomprehensible increase in violence in communities across the country, leading to a call for more police and more significant resources to address gun-related violence. Still, there’s little evidence that proves that hiring and deploying more police officers is the absolute answer to the problem of violence and gun-related deaths, particularly of young children.

D.C. is no exception. Police Chief Robert Contee’s request for enough funding to hire more than 200 additional police officers was not approved by the D.C. Council, which voted this week to only fund a portion of the Mayor’s $11 million budget request. The rest will support funding for community programs focusing on violence intervention and prevention.

We agree with At-Large Council member Elissa Silverman, who told the press this week that even the Council is unsure of the effectiveness of violence prevention organizations sprinkled across the city’s eight wards. It’s difficult to tell who and how they will be able to reach the perpetrators at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic continues to restrain efforts where the sources of the problems exist.

We know that police violence has not ended and that Black people continue to be victims of abuse by police across the country, no matter what the outcome was for the officer who killed George Floyd. We know that people are looking for ways to be a part of the solution to protect innocent victims, especially children, from the wanton use of guns in their communities. We know that funding will help support programs that can make a difference, even if it’s minimal. That funding often results in hiring individuals, including police, who were once the problem and now want to be part of the solution.

In the end, we’ve got to use every means necessary to ensure our communities are safe by supporting government intervention, police enforcement, community engagement and citizen action. There is no single solution. We all have a role to play to be a part of the solution to stop the violence plaguing our communities.

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