Thousands of Edmontonians are banding together online. On Thursday, June 4, Black Lives Matter Edmonton made a petition outlining their demands regarding the police budget. The Edmonton petition to defund the police has already received nearly 9,000 signatures in a matter of four days.
While outcries to defund police and petitions of this nature are happening all over Canada, you may be unsure what exactly that means or what it would look like if it were to happen. The petition speaks to these questions.
According to CNN, defunding the police means that a considerable part of the city's budget is re-allocated from the police service and put towards supporting community organizations.
Philip McHarris, a sociology researcher at Yale University told CNN that many black individuals and people of colour don't feel like they're protected by the police. Therefore, he believes that diverting those funds to other causes would end the culture of punishment in the justice system.
CTV News reported that mayors of cities like Los Angeles and New York have answered calls to defund the police. New York will be moving funding to youth and social services, and L.A. will cut about $150 million from the police department.
Edmontonians are also asking their mayor to rethink how much money the city puts towards the police.
Narcity has reached out to the Edmonton Police Service for comment and we will update this article when we receive a response.
They want city officials to reduce the size of the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) and stop sending police officers on mental health calls.
The petition calls for the police officers to be personally responsible for misconduct settlements so the city doesn't have to pay for it out of the police budget.
They're also asking the police to be removed from Edmonton schools.
Black Lives Matter Edmonton is demanding that all complaints and findings are posted on the Police Commissioner's website and that the officers are identified. Their badge number should also be posted, read the petition.
The petition insists that the money saved from not investing in the police should instead be directed to community organizations.
They also provided a list of organizations that should be supported by the city instead. They include the Africa Centre, Black Lives Matter Edmonton, Black Women United, Free Lands Free People, Shades Of Colour and many more.
The petition said that 14.9% of the City of Edmonton's 2019 capital is dedicated to the Edmonton Police Service. This amount is more than what the city spends on public transit, fire rescue, and libraries, the petition said.