Columbus Police have shot 14 people this year.

We truly have a tale of two cities in our capital. One speaks of a prosperous life full of upward mobility with a vibrant economy and progressive values. The other speaks of shockingly high infant mortality rates, harsh levels of income inequality, and increasing gentrification. That story also speaks about the fact that black folks are dying at an alarming rate in our city and around our state.

PEOPLE’S JUSTICE PROJECT

PEOPLE’S JUSTICE PROJECT HAS OUTLINED 5 DEMANDS FOR CITY COUNCIL:

  1. Discontinue the Summer Safety Initiative, and reinvest its budget into community-based violence prevention strategies, trauma services, and youth programming.
  2. Allocate at least half of the $300 million police and safety budget to prevention, intervention, and community-controlled policing.
  3. Reallocate the $33.4 million bond package that the city is requesting for police facility improvements and substations, using the funds instead for trauma recovery services for neighborhoods that are being hardest hit by violence.
  4. In reinvesting the funds, agree to work with a task force that includes community members, experts in criminal justice reform and violence prevention, and family members of the victims of police-involved shootings.
  5. Support independent investigations and transparent prosecution in the deaths of Henry Green, Tyre King, and all future police-involved shootings.

The Summer Safety Initiative allows police officers in plainclothes to patrol neighborhoods in cars with tinted windows. This program certainly doesn’t make life easier for those living in neighborhoods already tense from the current climate. We acknowledge that the program has done some good things such as getting narcotics off of the streets, but it comes at a heavy price.

Independent investigations along with body cameras should become the standard of policing for our community. This would be for the good of the people and also of the police as there are plenty of policemen doing good work. It is, however, vital that all police officers remain accountable to the community that they serve.

Mayor Ginther has been missing from the community this week, which is a shame. It would have been a good opportunity for him to help heal some bonds between regular folks and our city government. SURJ and People’s Justice Project have sworn to keep the momentum up and to keep the conversation about racial justice flowing in our city. They chanted it at Ginther’s home, but since he wasn’t there to get the message…

Puja Datta
Puja Datta

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