Several dozen march to protest San Diego City Council vote to increase police funding
About120 people took part in the protest that included a 2.5-mile march from Colina Park Golf Course to Azalea Community Park
San Diego’s decision this week to increase the Police Department budget drew continued criticism Wednesday, with several dozen protestors marching through City Heights pushing for change.
Some in the crowd of about 120 people, mostly young and diverse, waved signs reading “defund the police.” It’s become a nationwide rally cry to put less money toward policing and more toward social services.
The region, like the nation, has seen daily protests decrying police brutality and racial injustice following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was handcuffed and pleading to breathe while a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
The protest came two days after the San Diego City Council voted 8-to-1 to approve a $1.5 billion budget with increases to police funding. The council also agreed to create a new city Office on Race and Equity.
Before the vote, about 450 people called and another 4,000 people sent emails urging the council to cut police funding and redirect the money toward areas such as rent relief and mental health, as well as boosting the local minority community.
“That system that we are trying to use to demand change and action is fundamentally broken and the odds are stacked against the public,” protest co-organizer Rashanna Lee told the crowd of marchers.
Protesters stayed on the sidewalk during the peaceful 2.5-mile march from Colina Park Golf Course to Azalea Community Park. Council President Georgette Gómez represents the area.
At the end of a 12-hour meeting Monday, Gómez voted to approve the budget with the increase for police. She also said the Police Department needs changes and that “we need to invest in our communities that need it the most.”
“If council members can’t fight for us, it’s communities like these that take a hit,” Amir Harrison, one of the organizers, told the crowd at the end of the Wednesday march.
Staff writer Teri Figueroa contributed to this report.
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