Connecticut Protesters Demand New Haven Police Be ‘Defunded’

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“We want the police to be defunded, that’s the goal,” said Benie Nsumbu, a member of Citywide Youth Coalition, reported the Hartford Courant.

The group led a march and rally, along with local Black Lives Matter and other groups, to protest the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.

The demonstration reportedly drew a crowd of about 1,000 people and ultimately headed to the police station.

“We want to them start defunding and putting money back into the community,” Nsumbu continued. “If money is put back into our communities then we can actually nurture them and give them the resources that they need to not resort to crime. Because that’s where crime starts from, it starts from poverty. And our communities are in poverty.”

Demonstration leaders specifically demanded cutting the police’s budget by $33 million and redirecting the funds to city schools. Additionally, they demanded police pensions be cut and that money given to affordable housing projects.

According to the New Haven Independent, protesters also demanded:

  • That the city end the “triple occupation” of New Haven currently performed by city police, Hamden police, and Yale police.
  • That the Board of Alders “stop being complacent in entering more Yale Police Department Police officers into the New Haven community.”
  • That every officer in the state of Connecticut that has been involved in the killing or beating of a civilian be prosecuted “with the full weight of the law.”
  • That the people who are appointed to the Civilian Review Board “are viable people elected by the community.”
  • And the “immediate end to police brutality within our city, state, and country.”

The protesters chanted, “Money for schools, not the police,” as they marched.

Several New Haven police department leaders stood as the protesters reached the station and made their demands.

In East Haven, however, the Courant reported a more intense confrontation between protesters and police over the department’s relationship with Latinos, one that “ended with top police officials and officers on hand taking a knee with protesters in solidarity over their disapproval of the death of George Floyd.”

East Haven Police Chief Ed Lennon said the department was hoping to make some changes.