Divest / Invest (The City needs a plan to divest from the police)

Tell the City Manager: The City needs a plan to divest from the police

The Asheville Police Department is not keeping the members of our Black and Brown communities safe, which is why Black AVL Demands, RJC, and many other community-based groups have called for a 50% divestment from the police, with those funds reallocated into investments in those communities and the development of alternative means for public safety that don’t target and oppress people of color. 

City Manager Debra Campbell has announced that she won’t be proposing 50% cuts to the APD at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting, but she hasn’t yet said when she thinks that goal can be met. It’s likely that she will be proposing surface-level cuts and a bland promise to keep working on this problem. This is not a satisfactory conclusion to the 90-day process she is wrapping up.

Will you contact Ms. Campbell today and tell her that she needs to lay out a vision for how we’re going to get to a 50% divestment, with a timeline that she and the rest of our government will be accountable to, today? Here are instructions for reaching out to the City Manager and City Council. Some suggested talking points are below.

Here are some things you can say:

Ms. Campbell: Last week, you reported that you’d gotten the message from Asheville’s Black, indigenous and Latinx communities that the Asheville Police Department does “more harm than good,” and I appreciate you hearing that message loud and clear. I know that you are not planning to recommend a 50% divestment from the police department when City Council meets this Tuesday. I recognize that you’ve been saying all along that the work your office has been doing for the past 90 days is “only the beginning.” 

What I don’t know is what your plan is for the months ahead. How are we going to get to the 50% defunding of APD that the community is calling for? How is the City going to start investing significant funds in alternative models to public safety? What is the timeline? To be frank, surface-level cuts and a general promise to keep working on this issue are not enough. What specifics will you be offering when you report to Council on Tuesday?