My name is [YOUR NAME], and I live in [YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD]. I am writing because I am disturbed by the similarities between the actions of our own police department and that of the Minneapolis police department which was responsible for murdering George Floyd.
In 2015, Henrico County police officer Joel D Greenway was indicted with the malicious wounding and shooting of un-armed Black woman, Kimberly McNeil. Greenway shot at McNeil 7 times, striking her in the back of the head and in her arm. Greenway was acquitted. This community has not forgotten how this county handled that incident. I do not believe the shooting of Kimberly McNeil and the murder of George Floyd are isolated incidents. I believe these tragedies can be traced back to racial bias and lack of accountability of our police.
With the rise of COVID-19 and the ongoing problems of access to much needed resources around mental health, healthcare, housing and violence prevention, support for communities in need is necessary now, more than ever.
Thus, I call on you to meaningfully defund the Henrico County Police Department's budget. In the FY 20-21 proposed budget, the proposed expenditures for police, sheriff, and juvenile detention are 84 million, 43.5 million, and 5.6 million respectively. This allocation on police and incarceration is a misallocation of resources that could go to programs proven to be more effectively promote a safe and equitable community: community-based mental health services, substance abuse treatment services, affordable housing programs, and more.
I demand a budget that adequately meets the needs of at-risk county residents during this trying and uncertain time, when livelihoods are on the line. I demand a budget that supports community wellbeing, rather than empowers the police.
Thank you for your time,
[YOUR PHONE NUMBER]