TONIGHT: Eugene Budget: Demand Defunding EPD. Prep:6. Ask to speak: 7:15.
The above link opens a .pdf that outlines Black_Unity’s demands for reform, legislation, community representation, defunding, demilitarization, and system change. These are among the main talking points being prepared by many who will participate in tonight’s public comments at the Eugene City Council meeting TONIGHT.
Gracie’s zoom at 6 to prepare public comments favoring defunding: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82518155623
City Council and Eugene Urban Renewal Agency Meeting (7:30 p.m.)
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Google Doc of suggested talking points tonight, provided by Guest Blogger Gracie, shared with permission:
To start: We demand the city reallocate 30% of the EPD budget to CAHOOTS by defunding the police.
To End: Take care of us. Defund the police and invest in the wellbeing of this community.
- Over 11,000 people have signed a petition demanding this change.
- The Eugene police are hurting and killing us, usually the most vulnerable people in our community:
- Eliborio Rodriguez Jr. was murdered by a police officer in November of 2019.
- Ayisha Brown was thrown to the ground and arrested while trying to protect her son from being tazed in 2015.
- Brian Babb was shot and killed by Officer Will Stutesman on March 30th, 2015.
- Peaceful protesters were tear-gassed, shot with rubber bullets and arrested by Eugene Police on Sunday, May 31st after our City manager, Sarah Medary called a curfew and gave her tacit approval to this brutal action which violates the Geneva Convention.
- Officers Lara and Magana serially raped and sexually assaulted women in this community for years before they were
- In 2018 an unnamed Eugene police officer resigned after being accused of having sex on duty, targeting women in domestic violence crisis.
- Policing is a fundamental tool of systemic racism built to evade accountability and transparency.
- The police were created in the south to catch slaves. Their original intention was to protect white people and the property of white people.
- Police are notoriously difficult to fire. Police Unions protect police officers, and even if they are fired for misconduct, they are compensated generously for the inconvenience, and their misconduct record is not available should they move to another state and apply to be an officer.
- When the district attorney looks at the killing of civilians by a police officer, they only evaluate the moment the gun was fired, not time leading up to the shooting. This is how officers like the officer that murdered Eliborio Rodriguez Jr. end up getting off scot-free.
- The precise breakdown of how the police budget is spent should be public record but none of us have been able access it, despite many requests and attempts.
- Cahoots is in the spotlight nationally:
On CBS Sunday Morning, in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and NPR. If we are being looked at as an example, we have an opportunity and responsibility to set a robust and sustainable example for the rest of the country. Our CAHOOTS employees need to be compensated at the same rate as Police Officers and they need their own Dispatch line so our community members can call for them directly. The council has a unique opportunity to stand on the right side of history and set a national example for what it looks like to care for the members in your community.
Previous attempts to fund CAHOOTS were not guaranteed to sustain
Original attempts to grant CAHOOTS paltry increases in funding were not fully utilized because CAHOOTS could not hire and retain employees. Is this the example we want to set for the country? They cannot hire because the wages offered do not nearly measure up to the difficulty of the job and the risk involved. **** The funding was only temporarily allocated and they did not know if it would continue so could not hire long term employees that would rely on the continuation of that funding.
- Our attempts at police reform are ineffective :
- The Citizen Review Board can create Policies but the EPD has no obligation to report on their disciplinary action in upholding those policies. ****
- The Citizen Review Board states they would like a more diverse makeup but they are not paid for their work on the board. Only privileged people with enough time and money to dedicate time to the board can participate. **** When given the opportunity to select a more diverse board, the council chose to elect wealthier white men with political sway instead.
- The police commission is a rung on the ladder to become a council person or political figure and is utilized more as a stepping stool than a force of change and oversight.
- Police Worn Body Cam footage is not available to the public. In many other states this footage is available, there is no reason for this lack of transparency. ****
- The De-escalation Policy created in 2018 has not been enforced. No officers have been reported for violating it. Not even the officer who murdered Eliborio Rodriguez Jr.- his body cam footage IS available to the public and shows clearly how the officer escalated the interaction to the point of killing an unhoused person in our community.
- Police Auditor Dawn Reynolds was fired in 2010 for reporting abuses of authority and law violations by EPD and the Auditory office. In other words, she was fired for doing her job.
- Police Officers can report each other for misconduct, but this is challenging when lower ranking officers are reporting higher ranking officers
- IDFIT was created to investigate police corruption but they do not have enough training and experience and so the police end up leading investigations on themselves.
- Amplify the voices of people of color. Listen to their demands, hear their stories.
There are three main BIPOC-led organizations in this town. The Eugene Black Led Action Coalition, Black_Unity and BIPOC Liberation Collective. Talk to them. Prioritize them.
- Utilize the funds in the Community Safety Initiative
- Re-prioritize the City’s Budget Service Priorities: The budget Service Priorities have not been edited or adjusted since 2008
- Service priority Level 1 is to Preserve the public safety system. Our public safety system IS NOT WORKING. We do not need to preserve it, we need to rebuild it.
- Service Level Priority Level 4 is to Provide affordable housing.
Sarah Medary says she “is committed to be a leader of this reform and to solving the hardest of problems. STOP COPY AND PASTING THE BUDGET. Low income housing needs to be prioritized. Mental health services need to be prioritized. Our public safety system is NOT WORKING and needs to be re-evaluated, prioritizing programs like CAHOOTS.
- Create an aggressive supplemental budget that reflects the needs and values of this community.
- Cahoots needs their own dispatch line
To receive aid from CAHOOTS, you have to call [Gracie’s notes say 911; I thought it was the police non-emergency number: (541) 682-5111 — Remy, Asst. Ed.], and the dispatch line decides if CAHOOTS, the fire department or the EPD will respond to the call. The citizens deserve the right to choose whose help they will receive. The ability to call directly for CAHOOTS will save lives.
- Cahoots wages should be equal to police officer wages
Cahoots employees go through the same length of training as police officers. They make less than half of what a police officer makes and they are not protected by a powerful union or given pensions. Instead of patting ourselves on the backs for having a nationally admired crisis response solution, we should invest in showing the employees of CAHOOTS how much we value them. If CAHOOTS employees made as much as police officers it would allow “good cops” who genuinely want to help the community to turn in their badges and guns, participate in de-escalation training and join a nationally revered organization on the forefront of a peaceful future.
- Invest in upstream solutions – by giving this money to CAHOOTS we are not just expanding their program. If we expand their program and their dispatch services, they will not have anywhere to take people in crisis. When they have access to this money, Whitebird can help create and fund low barrier shelters, give more money to programs like HOOTS to help the city remove SROs from the public schools. This is an investment in prevention of crisis, not just response to crisis.
- It MUST BE HARDER TO BECOME A POLICE OFFICER
- Know your history: Oregon’s Racist history needs to be a part of the curriculum in our public schools and needs to be acknowledged, discussed and publicized through public art, museums and statues.
Our county’s namesake, Joseph Lane, led massacres against indigenous people, supported slavery and the Southern secession from the Union. Black people were not legally allowed to move to Oregon until 1926.
The Oregon state legislature was dominated by members of the Klan in 1923 and passed numerous restrictive laws, including those against first generation Japanese Americans, like the Alien Land Law which prevented them from owning or leasing land, and the Oregon Business Restriction Law which allowed cities to refuse business licenses to them. In our very own Eugene, Oregon, in 1922, the Eugene KKK group, which was considered to be one of the most successful KKK groups in the state, burned crosses atop Skinner Butte; for years the large letters “KKK” were visible to anyone getting off a train in downtown Eugene. In the 1950s, restaurants bore signs reading “White Trade Only” and many cities, including Eugene, were “sundown towns” where Black people were attacked if they stayed in town after sunset. In the 1960s, a cross was built atop Skinner Butte with no permit, but the council retroactively declared it a war memorial in an attempt to keep it there. It took Oregon over 100 years to ratify the 14th Amendment, which is supposed to guarantee all citizens equal protection under the law – though adopted in 1868 it was not ratified by Oregon until 1973. In 2016, Eugene had more hate crimes than anywhere in Oregon. If we want our future to be different from our past, we must face our past and change our future.
- Pass a motion TONIGHT to show us that you hear us, that you are willing to take action now to stand on the right side of history and set an example for the entire country.