DISARMAMENT, DEMILITARIZATION & TECHNOLOGY
Pushing for a new “modern” way.
Defunding the police puts an end to the mass surveillance of Black communities, and the end to the use of technologies that criminalize and target our communities (including IMSI catchers, drones, body cameras, and predictive policing software).
Policing has become increasingly militarized across North America, where raids, SWAT teams and high artillery weapons are sources of trauma and violence against Black communities in particular, where – Somali elder, for example, have described being “brutalized” in targeted raids in their communities.
Countless reports on how to address root causes of violence in communities, including gun violence, have been conducted: they do *not* call for increased or more militarized policing, but for increased funding for community programs, art programs, after school programs: (in Toronto, see the Roots of Youth Violence Report And Rooted in Action: A Youth-Led Report on Our Demands and Plans to Address the Root Causes of Violence in Our Communities)
2000%Canada deployments of SWAT teams has risen
over the past 37 yrs.
USAa SWAT team shot and killed 7-year-old Aiyana Jones
Instead of community-funding, cities across North America purchase tanks, sound cannons, and deploy SWAT teams: in Canada, research published in 2018 found that the deployments of SWAT teams has risen over 2000 percent over the past 37 years, and “routine policing represented the majority of SWAT team use: SWAT teams are increasingly being used by public police for routine activities such as executing warrants, traffic enforcement, community policing and responding to mental health crises and domestic disturbances”. In the US, a SWAT team shot and killed 7-year-old Aiyana Jones while she was asleep on her couch in Detroit, Michigan. This is unnecessary and creates wholly preventable and tragic forms of violence.
Militarized policing is also continuously used against Black, Indigenous, and other social justice and protest movements, as the current violent crackdown on protestors and the Toronto Police Services mass-human rights abuses during the G20 protests.
The immediate disarming and de-militarization of policing is a necessity as we move toward community safety.
The push toward new “modern” policing technologies like Stingray, drones, body cameras, and predictive policing increases surveillance against Black communities as well as posing enormous privacy issues, and increasing, rather than decreasing reliance and funding for law enforcement agencies.
MYTH: BODY-WORN CAMERAS “BODY CAMS” WILL HELP PREVENT POLICE VIOLENCE
Body cams do not prevent police violence or police killings, only defunding, demilitarizing, and reducing the scope of policing can do that.
Numerous peer-reviewed studies have made clear that body cameras DO NOT prevent police violence against our communities:
- A 2019 study published in 2019 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America found that Body-Worn-Cameras, have “very small and statistically insignificant effects on police use of force and civilian complaints, as well as other policing activities and judicial outcomes”.
- A 2019 Criminology & Public Policy journal study examined 70 other studies into body-worn cameras and concluded that “BWCs have not had statistically significant or consistent effects on most measures of officer and citizen behavior or citizens’ views of police”
- A Yale Law Review Study suggests that body cameras may even make the likelihood of use of fatal force by police worse. This is in part because police do not believe what they are doing is wrong — they believe that body cameras will absolve them.
Body cameras do not prevent Black people from dying: many of the officers involved in the arrest in which George Floyed was killed were wearing body cameras.
This is why we are suggesting that only DEFUNDING police and reducing their scope over our lives is the only way to keep our communities safe.
MYTH: BODY WORN CAMERAS REDUCE THE COSTS OF POLICING
Body cameras are the opposite of defunding:
Body-worn cameras are an incredibly expensive investment in a time when communities across North-America are calling for defunding: for example, despite tens of thousands of calls for defunding across the City, Toronto City Council and John Tory rejected a move to reduce the police budget and instead vowed to spend $50 million on body cameras, and a 2019 study in Montreal estimated it would cost $17.4 million over five years, plus $20 million a year for administration and increased hiring to manage the footage.
They can also be another form of mass surveillance and an invasion of our communities’ privacy.
Brendan Roziere, Kevin Walby, Police Militarization in Canada: Media Rhetoric and Operational Realities, Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, Volume 13, Issue 4, December 2019, Pages 470–482