Richmond councilwoman backs defunding the city’s police department, fund ways to better serve community

Richmond
Richmond police made arrests following the citywide curfew

Richmond police made arrests following the citywide curfew that went into effect on Sunday, May 31, 2020. (Photo: Will McCue)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Another member of the Richmond City Council has come out in support of defunding the city’s police department.

Stephanie Lynch, the city’s 5th District representative, released a post on social media Wednesday sharing her thoughts on the possibility of diverting public money from the department’s budget to serve community members instead.

“We need a transformative rebalancing of the institutions in our public safety and criminal justice system,” Lynch wrote on her Facebook page. “There is decades-worth of research that proves society’s answer to ‘reducing crime’ has done nothing more than traumatize communities, perpetuate health disparities, increase recidivism rates, create an oppressed population of low-income workers, and disenfranchise black lives.”

Lynch’s call to bring change comes after a fellow council member, Councilman Michael Jones of the 9th District, made a similar statement regarding defunding the police. The councilwoman provided a list of five immediate actions she would like to be enacted:

  • Working with multiple stakeholders to draft a resolution that will start the beginnings of the community engagement process to develop recommendations for an independent civilian review board, with subpoena power
  • Co-patroning the “Marcus Alert” legislation with colleague Councilmember Jones to establish a mental health crisis response network;
  • Calling for the elimination of contracts between the U.S. Military and our police force;
  • Selling off any militarized items that are in our current inventory and sending those funds to the education budget; and
  • Requesting a transition plan to remove all police department officers from our public schools and replace with trauma-informed case management and social workers.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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