CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Defund Charlottesville Police Department group is urging Charlottesville City Council to divert more than $10 million of funding toward community programs.
The group recently released an updated list of demands, saying in part, “The time has come to divert funding away from the department and toward other services.”
The demands come as a response to a video of an officer detaining a homeless man on the Downtown Mall on July 8.
The group is urging councilors to divert more than 60% of the police department’s budget to community support programs like rental relief , mental health and substance abuse programs, domestic abuse and sexual assault response, and educational resources.
“We’re envisioning what a police-free Charlottesville would look like when funding is made available to education, housing, and public health,” Ang Conn, a representative of the Defund CPD group, said.
In a statement, the group demands Charlottesville City Council to develop a division of first responders that would potentially replace police officers on calls relating to mental health, sexual assault and gender-based violence and abuse, domestic disputes, and substance use.
“Our community needs a place to call if someone’s in a crisis, other than the police, who criminalize other than support,” Conn said.
The group is also calling on councilors to halt all future hiring, training, and job openings by amending the current budget and using funds to support the first-responder initiative.
“I just really hope they take into consideration the community’s needs and wants when making their determination, Conn said.
The City Manager’s office said it does not have a comment on the demands at this time.