ST. LOUIS – Thursday night, the ‘Defund the Police’ movement met in the Central West End for a campaign called Defund Re-envisioned Transform.
The group believes less money should be spent on police and more on people like social workers and mental health experts, and on public housing and the like.
FOX 2’s Elliott Davis spoke to one of the group organizers, Inez Bordeaux, who said: ”We’re spending all of our money in the wrong place, which is what this campaign focuses on. How do we focus that money into the things that actually create public safety. In the city, we spend $173 million every single year on the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
Davis asked this question, ”When you look at St. Louis with high crime, if you’re the victim of a crime who are you going to call, the police you want an officer to be there right?”
Bordeaux answered, “What we want is we don’t believe that police are the answer.”
The group is trying to build membership and get the word out.
Bordeaux shared, ”Instead of calling the police we want to be able to call a caseworker a social worker someone who has experience in dealing with drug treatment issues or whatever that issue is.”
When asked, if the caseworker doesn’t show up with a gun, how do you stop the bad guy? Davis further asked, ”Even as we saw in the school shooting here in St. Louis the guy who was killing people until police came up and stopped the guy at the school here in St. Louis, how would?’
”There are things that we could have done prior to that. Police, they’re not even a band-aid; they don’t prevent the problem; they don’t solve the problem; they’re reactionary, and we want to be proactive,” Bordeaux answered.
One of the group members said their goal is to divert $10 million from the police budget to other groups.
The ‘Defund the Police’ movement caught on after the George Floyd murder in Minneapolis. However, it began to fizzle with the spike in crime in that city. A number of politicians embraced the idea for a time, until the public backlash forced them to moderate their stance.
The St. Louis group is convinced there’s a better way than spending so much money on police, and they plan to do all they can to make their idea a reality.
Bordeaux lastly explained, ”What our campaign is about is getting out in front of these problems addressing these needs before it gets out of control cause the police they’re not even a band-aid they don’t prevent the problem they don’t solve the problem.”