Madison Coalition Keeps Up Call For Police To Leave Black Communities

Some Community Members, However, Disagree With Group's Demands

Young, Gifted and Black members marching on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Madison during Gov. Scott Walker's inauguration. Photo: Gilman Halsted/WPR News.

The Young, Gifted and Black group in Madison is continuing to call for less policing in neighborhoods with large populations of racial minorities.

At a news conference last Friday, pastor Everett Mitchell spoke in support of the demand for less police presence in black neighborhoods.

“We want interactions with police in communities, but on terms that the community decides,” he said. “We want them to respond to our calls rather than being in our community, leading others in our community to believe that because there are more police, then there has to be more crime.”

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Some members of the black community don’t agree. Deirdre Thompson, who grew up in a violent housing project in Urbana, Illinois, said she wouldn’t feel safe if police patrols are reduced. She said that the black community needs to acknowledge that there is a lot of violence in their communities that police need to respond to.

“They do need extra policing. And that’s unfortunate — that’s not cool, people don’t want to hear that,” said Thompson.

Thompson said higher wage jobs and better schools are the answer — not fewer police.