Camden has been praised for its model policing techniques with ambitions to be duplicated across the country, we continue to fight this false narrative. The reform that took place in Camden was illegal and grossly undemocratic. The restructuring of Camden's law enforcement brought about an increase in excessive force by a highly militarized and whitewashed force.
Watu Moja x Camden Arts for Change is dedicated to see the end systemic racism targeted towards Camden City Residents. With the cooperation of the community leaders and fellow organizations we will fight for community centered and beneficial change in every institution: Education, Housing, local Government, and policing.
Camden County's budget reflects its feeling towards Camden residents. The county prioritizes to police city residents instead of investing in them. The county spends $68.5 million dollars on policing Camden City and less than $37 million on housing.
As freedom fighters we use our creative Imagine to think what the city would look like if funds we divested from policing and invested in education, social works, first responders, and housing. Below are the demands Camden Arts for Change that were delivered to the Camden County Police Metro Division.
A List of Demands to Camden City Police:
1. A policy to investigate police officers’ connections with white supremacy and fire everyone connected. A commitment to fire anyone connected to racist organizations or expressing racist views. Philadelphia did a similar investigation in 2019 and placed 72 officers on administrative duty and fired 13 officers.
2. Decrease the department’s budget by 50%. In Patterson the police budget is only 44 million and they have twice the citizen population as the city of Camden. We are calling for the police to handle less work, for the CCPD policing budget to go down to 34 million dollars and for the decreased 34 million dollars to go into schools, housing, social workers as first responders, and grassroots organizations who have the capacity and relationships to take care of the community.
3. Block Captains, Clergy, Youth, and leaders of grass-roots organizations hired to train the Camden County Police Department in Racial Bias, youth culture, de-escalation, and trauma informed responses.
4. Develop a citizen elected, Independent Civilian Police Review Board that is in charge of hiring and firing police officers as well as investigating use of force, racial bias, and all other audits of the department.
5. The Review Board approves the weaponry used. The Demilitarization of the CCPD. Military grade weapons, equipment, and vehicles should be destroyed. Our public safety system should not be ready to wage war against our community.
6. Changing recruiting, hiring, and promoting practices and a deadline for when the force will reflect the demographics of the city and be composed of city residents on every level of command, contracting, and support personnel.
7. Quarterly Police/Community relations meetings organized by residents, in which the community offers suggestions and directives to the department command level.
Camden arts for change demonstration recap
A special thanks to Taquan's Visuals for providing video shooting/editing services.
Instagram : @Taquan321action