CHICAGOToday, the Action Center on Race & the Economy ( ACRE ) held a press conference to release the new "POLICE BRUTALITY BONDS: How Wall Street Profits from Police Violence," report showing the estimated cost of police misconduct for taxpayers in several U.S. cities and counties around the country, and naming several well-known companies who continue to profit from police violence.
Read the full report here www.acrecampaigns.org/pbb .
Police violence and misconduct cases are on the rise throughout cities across the United States wreaking havoc particularly on communities of color, causing debt, and leaving taxpayers to pick up the tab while banks and investors profit.
"Victims and their families deserve to be compensated. The payments they receive are a paltry sum for the harm they suffer at the hands of killer cops," said Saqib Bhatti from the Action Center on Race and the Economy. "However, it's unconscionable that banks like Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs get a cut when a crooked cop kills an innocent Black person."
"Some of our nation's largest corporate entities have made $1 billion in profits off of police violence," said Maurice BP-Weeks from the Action Center on Race and the Economy. "While we fight to hold violent officers and police departments accountable to our communities, we must also work to hold banks and investors accountable for their role in perpetuating and profiting from our existing system."
The report features 12 cities and counties, as well as five case studies on: Chicago, Cleveland, Lake County ( Indiana ), Los Angeles, and Milwaukee. Across these five municipalities, ACRE estimated $1.87 billion in public debt stemming from police violence and the excessive settlement and judgment costs. Of the $1.87 billion in costs related to police brutality bonds, more than half - $1 billion - was investor profit.
The interest and service fees on these bonds can nearly double the cost of the original settlementleading to substantial profit for banks, investors, and a financial burden for everyone else.
"I'm outraged because our communities struggle from poverty and disinvestment while banks profit from the bloodshed by dishonest police officers," said Janice Peters, a community organizer with the Action Now Institute and a longtime resident of Chicago's West Side.
"This ACRE report confirms what Black youth as young as 11-years-old have been saying for the past 8 months," said Makeda Roberson-Vickery from BYP100. "Chicago spends 40 percent of its budget on policing, not including money spent on police settlements, but the city can't find money for mental health services, housing, schools and all the community resources that actually keep communities safe."
In a Chicago City Council meeting following the press conference, Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa ( 35th Ward ) and other Chicago Aldermen introduced a resolution calling for hearings into the city's routine use of police brutality bonds in light of the report.
""It is estimated that the City of Chicago has spent over $800 million on police-related settlements since 2004 and borrowed hundreds of million using police brutality bonds to make the payments," said Ramirez-Rosa. "While big banks profit from racist policing, our communities face record school closures, crumbling infrastructure and lack of access to social services. We need a Chicago that invests in our Black and Brown communities and holds police accountable for their crimes."
ACRE is encouraging the public to sign a petition calling on elected officials, cities, police and Wall Street to end policies that facilitate cycles of economic and physical violence in Black and Brown neighborhoods. The group also plans to push for public hearings, and eventually, enshrined policy changes that improve training and financial accountability.
The Action Center on Race & the Economy ( ACRE ) is a campaign hub for organizations working at the intersection of racial justice and Wall Street accountability.