Portland Police Reforms Includes $15 Mill Budget Cut And Gun Team Dismantled

Calls for police reform have grown louder after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, a black man by kneeling down on his neck.   In Portland, Oregon this past June, the City Council cut its police budget by $15 million and disbanded its police gun violence reduction team due to a disproportionate number of incidents involving black people, according to KATU News.

According to 2019 “Stops Data”, Portland’s gun violence reduction team stopped over 1655 drivers and pedestrians.  Most of the stops were black drivers and black pedestrians.   White drivers and white pedestrians made up only 32 percent of the stops, according to oregonlive.com. The 2019 data showed that police were much more likely to stop, search, and arrested blacks and latinos.  Police Chief Chuck Lovell said “Stops data helps us realize overrepresentation in the criminal justice system still exists”. 

The data confirmed the racial disparity, noting it as “An equity imbalance that can be traced back to systemic issues of race and power in the criminal justice system and law enforcement” reports oregonlive.com. Portland is not the only city in America where racial disparity exists and police reforms are needed.  Black people have disproportionately high rates of the traffic stops, arrests and police shootings in many US cities. 

Public trust of law enforcement is eroding because police accross America have failed to protect and serve black people. The militarization of police in cities accross America, systematic racism, white supremacy, and gun culture have normalized the mistreatment of blacks. “Every year police shoot and kill over 1,000 people”, according to everycityresearch.com. Acts of racial profiling, disproportionately high incidents of stops, arrests, and shootings of black people are toxic behaviours that erode the fabric of a civilized society.


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