Activists march to Grand Rapids police headquarters in rally seeking police ‘defunding’
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Organizers of efforts to disappoint Grand Rapids police force say they will keep their ideas moving even if Grand Rapids city guides refuse to change a proposed budget that will come to the vote next week .
Defund the GRPD activists gathered in Calder Plaza in front of Grand Rapids City Hall on Friday, May 14, before marching to Police Headquarters at Monroe Center NW.
The rally came just days before a scheduled May 20 meeting of Grand Rapids City Council when city commissioners will vote on whether to approve a $ 546 million spending plan, up from $ 55.81 million – Includes dollars for the police.
About 70 people attended the event.
Activists with Defund the GRPD and Justice for Black Lives have spearheaded efforts to slash Grand Rapids’ police budget since shortly after the Grand Rapids uprising on May 30, 2020. The riot came after the death of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.
Their demands have so far gone unheeded, and the majority of city commissioners have shown no reliance on police cuts in the run-up to this year’s budget. The proposed budget is to allocate $ 55.81 million to the police, up from $ 55.14 million last year.
Related Topics: Activists to City Commissioners: $ 6 million cut by Grand Rapids police before budget is approved
If approved, police funding would make up 35.8 percent of the total budget.
Supporters of the defunding efforts want the police budget to be cut to 32 percent – a minimum percentage required by the charter. It would mean cutting nearly $ 6 million from the Grand Rapids Police.
They complain that the police did not act in the public interest and “brutalized” some in the black and brown community of Grand Rapids.
During the rally on Friday, protesters paused for long periods in front of police headquarters, sang anti-police phrases and made speeches.
Their presence prompted the police to issue a warning about the sidewalk blockage. About 10 officers on bicycles and in heavy equipment were deployed in the area.
The protesters eventually marched back to Calder Plaza and the police did not interrupt any part of the event.
Proponents of defusing police say they are ready to continue their fight through the next budget year if they don’t get traction from city commissioners next week.
They said that they believe their message will resonate with the community and that they are in the majority over the behavior of the police and not in the minority.
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