If you’ve been to a protest march in practically any city in the U.S. over the past few days, and it’s likely you’ve seen or heard the slogan “Abolish the Police.” Though mainstream news sources are treating it like a sudden cause du jour, the police abolition movement (and the prison abolition movement, which is closely linked) dates back many years.
Despite a decade’s worth of police reforms across the country, law enforcement agencies have grown even more militarized and have continued to cause harm in communities of color. In fact, in many cities this past week, the police response to largely peaceful protests in response to the killing of George Floyd has itself helped promote the idea that cities are overinvesting in their police forces. Now, a bill that might start the work of making police abolition a reality is steadily moving through the California Legislature. In fact, it passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, June 3.