PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Social activists took to the steps of the City-County Building to call for a change in policing in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County on Thursday.
They want to take some of the money being used to fund the police and reinvest it in the community. A social justice collective has come together to pull numbers and data about how minorities are disproportionately policed in the city. They believe pulling money from police isn't radical and say they have a practical way for it to be done.
"Oftentimes in our communities, the priority is policing our communities and not investing in our communities," said Jasiri X with 1Hood.
The group calls it reimagining the concept of public health and safety. They've created a 33-page report outlining what they feel can be done to limit police functions and instead build up communities.
"We don't need to spend money on things that harm us, we need to spend money on things that help keep our community safe. What we need are decentralized community safety places," said WVU Criminology Professor Jesse Wozniak.
Some of their solutions also include mental health experts responding to health calls and creating better spaces for the homeless. They say Pittsburgh is a tale of two cities and isn't safe for Black and Brown people.
"Black Pittsburghers are 44 percent of all traffic stops, 60 percent of all uses of force, 72 percent of all frisks and 63 percent of all arrests despite being only 23 percent of the city's population," said Wozniak.
With these numbers in mind, as well as calls for change through mass protests, they say it's time for Pittsburgh to rethink its budget for the police bureau, a budget that has steadily increased over the years.
"The biggest part about implementation is funding and that's one thing I don't think we highlight enough is the budget cuts to make this happen," APA Executive Director Brandi Fisher said.
The group says they look forward to working with city leaders, as well as a new mayor, about how to make their requests a reality.
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