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Citing years of police brutality and racial disparities in arrests, activists are pushing candidates to embrace reforms ahead of next week’s Democratic primaries.
As the country reassesses its relationship with law enforcement, Ithaca, New York; Berkeley and Oakland, California; and Austin, Texas, are defunding, replacing, or reducing the scope of their police departments.
The proposal by Mike Elliott, if passed by City Council, would also create a department of unarmed professionals trained to respond to mental health needs.
The candidates—who didn’t support an affordable housing investment that was rejected by voters today—now advance to the November ballot.
It will be months before the pilot program is implemented in part of East Oakland, but activists say it’s a move in the right direction.