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Grand Rapids Police Officers Association releases statement against the calls for Defunding the GRPD

June 18, 2020

On Thursday, the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association (GRPOA) released a statement that is a clear sign of push back against the national and local public calls for defunding the police.

The 2-page document clearly demonstrates that the GRPOA is pushing back against any and all calls for DeFunding the GRPD

The GRPOA statement begins by saying that they acknowledge that people are frustrated by “recent incidents.” Of course the cop union doesn’t want to state clearly that the “incidents” are the police murder of black people around the country. The GRPOA statement does give a vague objection to police engaged in “criminal acts,” but they just don’t seem able to say they opposed police killing black people.

The statement says that there are probably plenty of people who are frustrated, particularly those who live in neighborhoods with an increase in “violent criminal activity.” Again, the GRPOA statement is vague, since they won’t mention which neighborhoods in Grand Rapids are experiencing an increase in “violent criminal activity.” The statement then goes on to say:

“Please be clear, the residents mentioned above, who continue to call the GRPD for help will be disparately impacted in the GRPD is defunded.”

This sentence is clearly meant to confuse and intimidate people who live in core city neighborhoods and those who are calling for the Defunding of the GRPD.

The statement then goes on to say that most of the calls are for returning to the City Charter guaranteed 32% of the City budget for the GRPD, which is just not accurate. Two days ago, Grand Rapids Commissioners said they had received 2,500 e-mails to Defund the GRPD, but at least half of those e-mails came from the Together We Are Safe campaign to Defund the GRPD, which is not only calling for a total defunding of the GRPD, but a re-direction of the money that currently goes to the GRPD to go to black and brown communities, and they would have control over how that money is allocated. 

The GRPOA statement then tries to convince us that a serious reduction in their budget will mean that cop numbers will be reduced (that is the point of defunding) and that certain investigative units would be negatively impacted.

Near the end of their statement they provide some “data” on violent crime in Grand Rapids, which is again designed to make us all believe that the only way to deal with violence is to have cops. We posted an article that looks at all kinds of models for community safety that doesn’t rely on cops just a few days ago.

Also, in the midst of the violent crimes data, the GROPA slips in these two sentences:

We have also been experiencing consistent incidents when large groups have unlawfully been interfering with traffic in major intersections in our city. Further, these groups have interfered with and delayed responses to medical, fire and police emergencies in the vicinity of these intersections.

Here the GRPOA is clearly attempting to call out organized actions that have taken place in recent years, by numerous groups that use direct action and disruption as a tactic to disrupt business as usual. The GRPOA wants the public to think that organized protesters are a problem and are dangerous. This is complete nonsense and I believe that most people don’t buy this line of thinking at all.

The statement ends by saying that they are simply responding to an “outspoken minority” who wants to defund the GRPD. If the commissioners are admitting that they have received 2500 e-mails, just in the past 10 days, this is no minority. It is not often that city officials receive that level of communications from the public.

Defund the GRPD NOW!!!!

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