Hundreds march to Boston City Hall in support of defunding police

BOSTON — Protesters gathered in Roxbury’s Nubian Square Wednesday afternoon and marched two-and-a-half miles to Boston City Hall with a list of demands, including defunding the police department.

According to the Facebook event, the group wants:

  1. Defund the Boston Police Department by at least 10% (around $41m)
  2. No increase in BPS budget for police
  3. Put a cap on overtime accrual + Overtime pay for military exercises

For those marching in the crowd, it wasn’t just another day of demonstrating. It’s about a dedication to keep going and one step forward - these protesters would like to see focuses on cutting back on police funding.

“You’re not protecting us the way we think we should be respected, you’re not giving us the respect you want us to give to you,” said Tracey David a South End resident.

David says that she understands that the title of the march, to defund police, may be misleading to some. However, she say’s it’s not about dismantling police, but that a portion of the department’s current funding should be diverted elsewhere, like to education.

“If you’re not doing the job according to everyone, you deserve to have your money should be cut,” said David.

“There are so many places that need money and could alleviate some of the issues that police shouldn’t have to deal with in the first place,” said Rick Boomer, of Beverly.

Wednesday’s march from Nubian Square to City Hall happened amid budget deliberations in Boston. At-large City Councilor Julia Mejia is one of the leaders fighting on behalf of the crowd of protesters.

“It’s not about getting rid of the police, it’s about how do we utilize the dollars we have to invest in things we’ve overlooked for far too long," said Mejia.

Mejia says her constituents who are out here marching want to create funding opportunities to support programs she says are underfunded.

“We’ve been defunding the public education for years and no one has said anything," said Mejia. “Now all of a sudden we want to talk about reallocating or defunding the police and everyone’s up in arms, but it’s the wrong conversation.”

The Boston Police Department has a budget of more than $400 million. Mayor Marty Walsh says the city has to cut as much as $80 million from the city’s overall budget due to lost revenue during the pandemic.

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