SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco's mayor and a city supervisor are proposing the idea of redirecting funds from the police department to the city's African American community.
Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Shamann Walton are talking about ways to better serve the city's African American population, and redirecting funds from police to the community is on their radar.
Days of unrest in San Francisco may have been sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, but Breed and Walton say the roots lie in racially disparate policies in the city that have harmed the city's black communities.
The supervisor said decades of disinvestment in the African American community have been devastating.
"It is now time for real change, it is now time for bold change, it is now time to put our money where our mouth is," said Walton. "So, we're making sure that we redirect resources from the police department and actually make an investment in our communities."
The supervisor and mayor say they will be working with the city's Human Rights Commission to determine how much money would be required and where it should be spent.
But, Tracy McCray from the San Francisco Police Officers Association said taking money from training or providing what the department needs could impact public safety.
"Because if we're understaffed when someone calls they don't want to be waiting for us to get there," said McCray. "They want us there before now, right. So, just exactly where are these funds coming from?"
The supervisor says more money in the police department and more officers on the street don't necessarily mean a safer city. He says investing in the black community, with employment and housing opportunities and with a collaborative relationship is the answer.
"The main thing is to come up with strategies where the community, law enforcement and everyone can work together to keep people safe," said Walton.
The police officers association said this doesn't need to be an "either-or" situation. With a $12 billion city budget, the SFPOA says there should be room for programs to aid the black community and provide for the police department.
"You can fund your programs and you can still fund your police department,' said McCray.
Mayor Breed is expected to submit her two-year budget outlining how funds will be directed on or before August 1st.
Those who wish to participate in open meetings on reinvestment in the African-American community please email Hrcfirstname.lastname@example.org.