A case for one aspect of "defunding the police"

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JayMysteri0

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As some might know or seen in various threads here & there, there's a strong intentional misunderstanding of what defunding the police means. So to help some, I thought I'd provide an example of what has happened when you involve the police, and not what's intended with some plans involving "defund the police".

First:
Wikipedia said:
"Defund the police" is a slogan that supports divesting funds from police departments and reallocating them to non-policing forms of public safety and community support, such as social services, youth services, housing, education, healthcare and other community resources.

The most common form that is talked about so as to not impact current police budgets, is using the constant increases police every year, and redirecting that money into services that affect local communities. The idea being is if they can provide services, it's a a call that the police will not have to make, that are not properly trained for.

One example is:

If such a service existed, perhaps Sandy Guardiola would be alive.


NEUROLOGIST EUGENE TOLOMEO documented an appointment with his patient Sandy Guardiola that took place on October 3, 2017. “She smiles often,” he wrote. She was in “good spirits.”

Guardiola, a parole officer in upstate New York, was scheduled to start work at a new office location following a four-week medical leave after a car accident. She asked the doctor to sign paperwork allowing her to return to her job. She was, he noted, “excited about going back to work.”

When Guardiola’s two adult children spoke to her that week, they said she seemed well. To this day, they do not understand why a police officer was sent to their mother’s apartment in Canandaigua, New York, to carry out a wellness check on October 4. Neither of them had been called, although they were listed as her emergency contacts at work. All they know is that Scott Kadien of the Canandaigua Police Department entered Guardiola’s home without her permission and shot her three times while she was in her bed. She died in the hospital that afternoon.

The police shooting of a Latina woman in a small upstate New York town, with a population that is 96 percent white, did not make national news. Even local coverage was scant. A grand jury declined to charge Kadien, who claimed that Guardiola shot at him first (she legally owned a gun, owing to her job).

Amid national antiracist uprisings, however, with renewed focus on the plague of racist police killings, Guardiola’s son and daughter are pushing for their mother’s story to become known. Hers is one of all too many deaths that illustrate the risk of entrusting police forces with overseeing community wellness. And, like most every police killing, the story of Guardiola’s death is one of cop impunity, unanswered questions, and ongoing injustice.

The call was made by parole officers in Rochester, New York, where Guardiola had stopped working prior to her accident, having already chosen to transfer to a different location. According to her children, Guardiola said she faced discrimination in the Rochester office; she was due to start work in Binghamton, New York, following her approved medical leave.

Yet it was her former office colleagues who called 911 to request a wellness check. Guardiola did not pick up her phone or respond to knocks on her apartment door. Her children believe that she had gone to bed in the afternoon, taken a sleeping aid, and put in ear plugs, knowing that she’d have to wake up extremely early the next day to embark on her new, three-hour commute to work.

Other troubling details haunt the scene. Why, for example, did the officer call for police backup after the shooting, before calling for the emergency medical technicians who were on standby across the street? There was a 10-minute gap, while Guardiola was still alive yet bleeding to death, between the shots firing and the medics being summoned. Why was Guardiola put in handcuffs? “They were supposed to be there for her wellness, not to apprehend a criminal,” her 24-year-old daughter, Alysa, told me.

And why, in the immediate aftermath, did law enforcement officials lead Guardiola’s family to believe that she had effectively committed suicide-by-cop? “I had just spoken to her,” Alysa said, echoing the words of the doctor that she had been in “good spirits” and was making future plans. “We knew something was very off,” Guardiola’s son, Andrew, said of the police narrative.

“There needs to be a change in how wellness checks are done, and who does them,” Alysa said. “You see it all around the country — people having manic episodes being killed or detained.”

Within the white supremacist context of this country, where Black, Indigenous, and other people of color are framed as a threat, summoning the police for wellness checks risks sentencing to death the person whose wellness is purportedly at stake. In New York, Chicago, North Carolina, Alabama, Minneapolis, and elsewhere in recent years, people — predominantly Black people — have been shot by police called for wellness checks. The very notion that armed cops are best suited to deal with an unwell person is belied by the sheer fact that disabled individuals make up a third to a half of all people killed by law enforcement officers. Guardiola was not ill, as her doctor had attested. Had she been, it’s hard to imagine a universe in which sending an armed cop into her apartment would be a solution toward wellness.

Police killings like Guardiola’s clarify the American myth of a citizen’s protected private property. White property is inviolable. The discriminatory application of “Stand Your Ground” laws make this clear. So, too, do spectacles like that of wealthy, white supporters of President Donald Trump imperiously pointing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters from an ostentatious mansion.

Racism and property are intractably bound in a country built by people owned as property, on stolen land. Police raids, deadly so-called wellness checks, and no-knock searches, not to mention the patrolling of public housing — all examples of how the state continues to treat the property of Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color as violable. For months, Breonna Taylor’s name has been chanted at protests across the country. She was murdered in March by plainclothes officers in Louisville, Kentucky, who entered her home on a no-knock search warrant. Taylor and her partner believed there were intruders in their home, because there were.

In certain ways, Guardiola’s children recognize that their mother’s story is unusual in a movement antagonistic to the police and the carceral system. She was, after all, a parole officer. She had previously worked as a corrections officer on Rikers Island, the infamous New York City jail, before obtaining a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University and retraining as a parole officer. She specialized in working with parolees with mental health issues, and both her kids spoke of her desire to bring her caring attitude to her work, which adds a dark irony to her death in the context of a wellness check orchestrated by that same system.

Neither of Guardiola’s children approach their advocacy for their mother from an abolitionist stance; they want to see reform and, at the very least, Alysa said, “recognition of wrongdoing” where there has been none.

“At first, I held onto the hope that since my mother was a law enforcement official, that the system that she served would serve her,” said Andrew.

Her death, and the lack of any accountability for it, make clear the response to the slogan chanted again and again by protesters at police: “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?” The answer is very few people indeed.

There's a fair chance that if such a group like Denver's STAR program, Ms. Guardiola would be alive. Obviously because they aren't armed, but it's likely they wouldn't have had the authority to just let themselves in using a masterfob, so an encounter with Ms. Guardiola wouldn't have happened either. If it had been a service like STAR they wouldn't have had the 'authority' to enter. They would have to call the children that are the rightful emergency contacts. If they had needed to enter immediately they would have had to call an officer, which would add 2 more sets of eyes for accountability when entering. Instead what we had happen was someone killed by police, not held responsible, all because the police were asked to check on the health of the person they killed. It's a call, that police shouldn't have to answer if it can be helped.
 
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ericgtr12

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ronntaylor

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I can't stand the slogan, Defund the Police, because its meaning is purposefully twisted. But the reality is that no matter what you call/name it, right-wingers will disparage it while there needs to be progress. Reform done intelligently ultimately leads to less funding for law enforcement; everyone's goal should be a better society that doesn't need large police forces.

NYPD is a perfect example of a need to refocus efforts when it comes to policing and community needs. I'd like a substantial, immediate cut in funds that would be go towards better social & medical services. Our homelessness problem needs an all-hands approach; not untrained, racist and inexperience police officers added to a volatile mix.
 

JayMysteri0

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Another example:


Barton said she was the one who called the police and asked for a crisis intervention team (CIT). She said her son, who was Asperger's, was having a mental breakdown. She spoke briefly about how she was told how the CIT would respond:

This is how to deal with people with mental health issues. So, you call them, and they're supposed to come out and be able to deescalate a situation using the most minimal force possible.
She explained to the CIT that her son was having a mental breakdown and needed to be transported to the hospital for treatment. It was the first day Barton had returned to work in almost a year because she can't be away from her son: "he has bad separation anxiety," she explained. On the phone with officers, Barton told officers the best way to approach her son:

I said, he's unarmed, he doesn't have anything, he just gets mad and he starts yelling and screaming. He's a kid he's trying to get attention, he doesn't know how to regulate.
She said she was to stay while the two officers went through the front door of the home in the area of 500 S. Navajo Street in the Glendale neighborhood. She said in less than five minutes, she heard "get down on the ground" and several gunshots were heard.

She thought her son was dead and the officers didn't immediately say if he was or was not dead. They handcuffed him, according to Barton. Additionally, she said she heard from someone that the other officer could be seen grabbing his own head in disbelief for what had happened. He said out loud, according to what the mother was told, "He's just a child, what are you doing?"
 

ronntaylor

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Another example:

It's never a good idea to call the police for medical assistance. Whether it's a loved one suffering a mental break, or even for a welfare check. Too many instances of the call leading to tragedy at the hands of those least equipped to deal with the situation. 😭
 

Chew Toy McCoy

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It's never a good idea to call the police for medical assistance. Whether it's a loved one suffering a mental break, or even for a welfare check. Too many instances of the call leading to tragedy at the hands of those least equipped to deal with the situation. 😭

Reminds me of a comedian who said white people call 911 like its customer service.
 

Lostngone

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It's never a good idea to call the police for medical assistance. Whether it's a loved one suffering a mental break, or even for a welfare check. Too many instances of the call leading to tragedy at the hands of those least equipped to deal with the situation. 😭

Who calls the police?!? Who needs them, when I need help I call 911.
 

DT

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It's never a good idea to call the police for medical assistance. Whether it's a loved one suffering a mental break, or even for a welfare check. Too many instances of the call leading to tragedy at the hands of those least equipped to deal with the situation. 😭

This is exactly what needs to be improved, defund/refund/crossfund, whatever, arguing the terminology is silly. A psych issue call should immediately trigger a team of an officer and a psych professional. I guarantee someone with the proper education could've managed the situation infinitely better - and to be clear, that's not specifically a knock on LE, they just have the wrong and/or missing tools, it's the whole "If you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail ..." trope.
 

PearsonX

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This is exactly what needs to be improved, defund/refund/crossfund, whatever, arguing the terminology is silly. A psych issue call should immediately trigger a team of an officer and a psych professional. I guarantee someone with the proper education could've managed the situation infinitely better - and to be clear, that's not specifically a knock on LE, they just have the wrong and/or missing tools, it's the whole "If you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail ..." trope.
Are you suggesting that cops aren't licensed to do electroconvulsive therapy?! Then why the tasers?!

My "fav" videos are when the cops tase clearly schizophrenic black men a dozen times then stand scratching their heads when the person drops dead. ME's report will say agitated delirium... Like their delirium shocked their heart repeatedly.

We desperately need that person with psych expertise and I think reasonable cops would also quickly understand how this would reduce their liability too.
 

JayMysteri0

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Are you suggesting that cops aren't licensed to do electroconvulsive therapy?! Then why the tasers?!

My "fav" videos are when the cops tase clearly schizophrenic black men a dozen times then stand scratching their heads when the person drops dead. ME's report will say agitated delirium... Like their delirium shocked their heart repeatedly.

We desperately need that person with psych expertise and I think reasonable cops would also quickly understand how this would reduce their liability too.
As far as that "reduced liability", I believe that's where 'qualified immunity' came into play, and why unions are resistant of it being addressed. It isn't the officers who need reduced liability, it's the cities & towns who later have to pay out in millions of dollars of liability, while the officer goes back to work.
 

PearsonX

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As far as that "reduced liability", I believe that's where 'qualified immunity' came into play, and why unions are resistant of it being addressed. It isn't the officers who need reduced liability, it's the cities & towns who later have to pay out in millions of dollars of liability, while the officer goes back to work.
I'm not suggesting that having mental health people will fix the liability issues. The system is sick.
I'm suggesting that maybe the presence of a person to remind a cop to not use force when unnecessary will keep them out of trouble too.
 

JayMysteri0

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I'm not suggesting that having mental health people will fix the liability issues. The system is sick.
I'm suggesting that maybe the presence of a person to remind a cop to not use force when unnecessary will keep them out of trouble too.
I wasn't saying anything of a sort, I was commenting on the fact that some officers will NEVER care about reduced or increased liability. Liability isn't an issue for them as long as 'qualified immunity' is their personal guarantee. Their cities & towns are ultimately the ones who experience FULL liability.


“The 10 cities with the largest police departments paid out $248.7 million in 2014 in settlements and court judgments in police-misconduct cases,” The Wall Street Journal reported in 2015.

In just the first eight weeks of 2018, Chicago paid out $20 million in police misconduct lawsuits, according to a local news investigation.

New York City pays by far the most. In 2017, it paid a record $302 million for police misconduct lawsuits, according to the city controller’s office.

I'm saying the issue of 'qualified immunity' plays a very large issue as well.

The ultimate idea would be to provide for services that address the things the police should not be expected to handle, unless they go very wrong.

Also making officers very aware that their consequences to their actions that the majority of everyone else will never have on others. There are far too many officers who manage to do their job experiencing no incidents or that rare one. It's the officers who experience multiple incidents, still on the job, knowing that a union & city's budget will cover them.
 

PearsonX

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I wasn't saying anything of a sort, I was commenting on the fact that some officers will NEVER care about reduced or increased liability. Liability isn't an issue for them as long as 'qualified immunity' is their personal guarantee. Their cities & towns are ultimately the ones who experience FULL liability.





I'm saying the issue of 'qualified immunity' plays a very large issue as well.

The ultimate idea would be to provide for services that address the things the police should not be expected to handle, unless they go very wrong.

Also making officers very aware that their consequences to their actions that the majority of everyone else will never have on others. There are far too many officers who manage to do their job experiencing no incidents or that rare one. It's the officers who experience multiple incidents, still on the job, knowing that a union & city's budget will cover them.
Pshufd posted a paper on this but that I didn't read and now have difficulty finding suggested that problematic behavior can spread in the police force like an epidemic. So if a bunch of guys from the top X percentile of complaints transfer to a new precinct, the rate of complaints against other officers go up too.

There were multiple analyses to show that prior complaints and investigations are great predictors of future excessive use of force. So there are quantifiable reproducible ways to identify the problematic people in the force. The goal should be to have a mechanism to revoke the police creds of these people if the red flags fly high. But, I don't think we have any level of disagreement here.

I much rather pay the extra money to literacy programs.
 

Huntn

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I can't stand the slogan, Defund the Police, because its meaning is purposefully twisted. But the reality is that no matter what you call/name it, right-wingers will disparage it while there needs to be progress. Reform done intelligently ultimately leads to less funding for law enforcement; everyone's goal should be a better society that doesn't need large police forces.

NYPD is a perfect example of a need to refocus efforts when it comes to policing and community needs. I'd like a substantial, immediate cut in funds that would be go towards better social & medical services. Our homelessness problem needs an all-hands approach; not untrained, racist and inexperience police officers added to a volatile mix.
How about reform the police?
 

ronntaylor

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How about reform the police?

The "Defund the Police" crowd is totally against it. Suggesting that it is not radical enough. It means essentially the same thing, but too much energy is wasted explaining this and it gives fuel to the other side (not that cop-suckers/anti-BLM jackasses need anything but thin air to fuel their nonsensical hate).
 

SuperMatt

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The "Defund the Police" crowd is totally against it. Suggesting that it is not radical enough. It means essentially the same thing, but too much energy is wasted explaining this and it gives fuel to the other side (not that cop-suckers/anti-BLM jackasses need anything but thin air to fuel their nonsensical hate).

When you see police officers guilty of DUI, off-duty shootings, etc. making more money than the mayor of their city, I think defund makes a lot of sense.
 

ronntaylor

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When you see police officers guilty of DUI, off-duty shootings, etc. making more money than the mayor of their city, I think defund makes a lot of sense.

I'm actually for defunding police forces. Some can't get any worst if you chopped 10% or more of the budget. The NYPD is bloated. It's extremely wasteful. Cut 10% for the next fiscal year. Institute a hiring freeze. No addition equipment expenditures beyond the absolutely necessary stuff. Get rid of ceremonial BS: horses, officers putting up parade route barricades while on duty. Crackdown on OT abuse, and immediately reform retirement schemes so officers don't rig the last couple years of duty to get fatter pensions.

Deduct all monies paid out to victims of Police settlements/claims: NYC paid out more than $220M in claims in 2019. And that represents a 7% decrease from the previous year. Make the department pay, not taxpayers.
 

Lostngone

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They REALLY need to come up with a better term than “Defund the Police” if they want this idea to go anywhere. Removing money from the Police won’t make what is going on any better.

We need other programs/teams at the state and local levels to deal with some of these issues. Simply saying “Defund the Police” doesn’t sell/explain what most people want.
The ones that do just want to remove all funding from the police without some other well thought out plan are nut balls.
 
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