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DeFunding the GRPD should also include never voting for candidates that accept money from the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association PAC

June 9, 2020

Last week, we wrote about the importance of having a Defund the GRPD campaign

This week a Defund the GRPD campaign was begun by the group Together We Are Safe, with support from Movimiento Cosecha GR and GR Rapid Response to ICE.

The push to defund police departments is part of a larger conversation around the role of policing in the US. There is tremendous potential and lots of political openings right now, allowing for more radical imagination and revolutionary praxis.

The Defund the GRPD campaign is gaining lots of traction, especially since the campaign is not only calling for Defunding the GRPD, but for black and brown communities to decide how the money that has been going to the GRPD can be used to benefit their communities. This strategy of Divest/Invest, is exactly what the Movement for Black Lives has been calling for since 2014

Another component of Defunding the GRPD campaign should also include information about how the police union in Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association PAC, has been working to influence public policy, by making financial contributions to Grand Rapids area elected officials and candidates.

It is critical that we Defund the GRPD, but it is also important to pressure candidates to NOT take money from the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association PAC and to NOT vote for candidates that accept money from the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association PAC.

What follows below is a list of candidates that the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association PAC has contributed to and the amount, based on campaign finance data from the Michigan Secretary of State’s office

One thing that is interesting about this list is that, for all of the partisan candidates, all of them, except Kevin Green and Robert Regan, are Democrats.

October 2019

  • Wendy Falb $5,000

July 2019

  • Wendy Falb $5,000

April 2019

  • Jon O’Conner $5,000
  • Winnie Brinks $500
  • Carol Hennessy $250

October 2018

  • Alida Bryant $2,000
  • Blair Lachman $1,500
  • Phil Skaggs $500
  • Carol Hennessy $250

July 2018

  • Blair Lachman $2,000
  • Winnie Brinks $1,500

January 2018

  • Winnie Brinks $1,000

October 2017

  • Kurt Reppart $1,500

April 2017

  • Phil Skaggs $250

January 2017

  • David Allen $1,000
  • Jon O’Connor $1,000

October 2016

  • David LaGrand $500
  • Deb McNab $250

April 2016

  • Winnie Brinks $1,000
  • Chris Becker $1,000

October 2015

  • David Allen $2,500
  • Winnie Brinks $500
  • David LaGrand $500
  • Rosalynn Bliss $500

July 2015

  • David Allen $2,500
  • David LaGrand $1,000

April 2015

  • Rosalynn Bliss $2,500
  • Brandon Dillion $250

February 2015

  • Jon O’Connor $1,000

October 2014

  • Winnie Brinks $500

July 2014

  • Kevin Green $250
  • Robert Regan $250
  • Brandon Dillon $200

April 2014

  • Brandon Dillon $500
  • Dan Morse $250

February 2014

  • Matthew Janiskee $1,000

For those interested in finding out which politicians in other communities have taken money from police unions, check out the resource, No More Cop Money.

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