Officials Not Removing ‘Defund the Police’ From Washington Street

Officials Not Removing ‘Defund the Police’ From Washington Street
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser stands on the rooftop of the Hay Adams Hotel near the White House and looks out at the words "Black Lives Matter" that have been painted in bright yellow letters on the street by city workers and activists in Washington on June 5, 2020. (Executive Office of the Mayor/Khalid Naji-Allah via AP)

The words “defund the police” won’t be removed from a Washington street, the District of Columbia’s Department of Public Works said.

A representative told a local Fox affiliate that the words, painted by activists near a city mural that says “Black Lives Matter,” will not be removed.

Another part that was added—an equal sign that sat between Black Lives Matter and “defund the police”—will be removed, the agency said. In its place will go a District of Columbia flag, which was removed by activists.

Asked Sunday whether “defund the police” would be removed, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser declined to answer directly.

Bowser, a Democrat in her second term, directed city workers to paint the words “Black Lives Matter” on a street while renaming a section of the road Black Lives Matter Plaza.

But the words “defund the police” were later added in bold yellow letters nearby, prompting criticism from many.

Protesters gather at “Black Lives Matter Plaza” in Washington, DC, before the start of a demonstration, on June 6, 2020. (Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images)

Bowser said officials are proud of the mural, adding: “It is an affirmative piece of art, a centering piece of art, where people from around the globe have called us and thanked us for acknowledging black humanity and black lives in the most important city in the world. And we are very proud of that art,” she said.

Bowser was speaking on ABC’s “This Week.”

Pressed on whether she’d order the removal of the words “defund the police,” Bowser said: “Well it’s not a part of the mural. And we certainly encourage expression but we are using the city streets for city art.”

Asked a third time, Bowser said: “I actually haven’t even had an opportunity to review it, Martha. But the response that we’ve gotten from people about the Black Lives Matter mural has just been incredible.”

Defunding the police, or cutting funding from police departments, was opposed by 65 percent of respondents in a recent poll (pdf). Just 16 percent said they favor cutting funding, while 19 percent weren’t sure.

Black Lives Matter’s Washington chapter panned the plaza, saying in a statement that Bowser “must be held accountable for the lip service she pays in making such a statement while she continues to intentionally underfund and cut services and programs that meet the basic survival needs of black people in D.C.”

NTD Photo
Protesters lie in the middle of the recently renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House during demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, in Washington on June 7, 2020. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

The group listed a number of demands, including defunding the Metropolitan Police Department, removing officers from schools, decriminalizing sex work, ending cash bail, and abolishing prisons.

“Black people are allowed to be joyful or feel seen with D.C. renaming a street after Black Lives Matter. It’s also our responsibility to let you know what we are fighting for, who has the power to change things and that power concedes nothing without demand,” Kiki Green, an organizer with the local chapter, said in a statement.

Elsewhere, the group claimed the mural was a move “to appease white liberals while ignoring our demands.”

Activists are upset over what they describe as racial injustice. The latest incident, they say, is the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Memorial Day.

Told of the criticism on Sunday while on “Fox News Sunday,” Bowser said, “We have invested not a penny more and certainly not a penny less than what we need for safe neighborhoods in our communities.”

The current budget proposal include an increase of more than 3 percent for public schools and a policing program where local residents are hired and sent to college while working for the police department, Bowser said.

“And what that does is it makes us have a force that is diverse, it has more women, it has more D.C. residents, and it will help us create a partnership between police and community,” she added.

From The Epoch Times

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.