On Monday August 24, 2020, the Budget Committee of San Francisco held a public comment session on the budget which would be submitted for approval on Wednesday August 26.
This budget cycle takes place in the context of the mass marches and protests calling to divest from policing and invest in the lives and futures of marginalized communities. #BLM #DefundThePolice. At the same time, the Covid-19 pandemic requires budget cuts to face an economic recession, while also a need to bolster the social safety net.
The Friday prior to the public comment session, the Budget Committee Supervisors negotiated an approximate $30.0M decrease to SFPD’s budget, which only amounts to about a 4% budget cut from the prior year’s 2019-2020 budget, and a measly improvement to the 2.6% cut the Mayor London Breed had proposed. This is a far cry from the public demand to end the racist violent institution of policing that is the San Francisco Police Department.
Below are the video public comments submitted and entered into the record of the to the Budget Committee by:
- José Góngora Pat (brother)
- Luis Poot Pat (cousin), and
- Adriana Camarena, Justice 4 Luis coalition member.
Video public comment by Luis Poot Pat
Transcription. Good afternoon to all. I am here to request, to demand of all supervisors.
My name is Luis Armando Poot Pat. I am cousin of Luis Demetrio Góngora Pat murdered by San Francisco Police, April 7, 2016.
Since the day of that incident, we have been demanding justice, changes.Unfortunately, four years have gone by, and to date, there has been no change.
I demand of all San Francisco authorities, especially the Supervisors, to take their responsibilities, seriously.
Stop playing with the lives of citizens, especially with those, who like in our case, have been caused a trauma in the whole of our family, in all aspects of everyday life of each one of us: my children, my work, the school of my children.
I demand that you seriously consider the trauma caused by the police.
I demand of the Supervisors that you take the opportunity today to be serious about your job. That you defund the budget allocated to the police who are destroying our lives and our families. Please, stop playing around with citizens.
Do your job! You have an opportunity today to fulfill your responsibility.
Defund—use those funds for health, wellness, education.
Video Public Comment by José Góngora Pat
Transcription of translation. My name: José Manuel Góngora Pat. I am the brother of Luis Demetrio Góngora Pat.
We are here where he was brutally murdered by the police.
We are demanding that the Supervisors cut the police budget, so that those defunded monies be invested in people without homes.
We’ve been persisting all along, day after day, so that the police take notice—since the day they murdered Luis Góngora—that we are asking for change.
The Supervisors up until today have done nothing.
But we consider that we ourselves need to support the other families who have been victims at the hands of police.
So, I remind the Supervisors again that you must defund the police.
Against the police, we are involved in struggles, marches, so we stay day-by-day in their faces until the time comes when change is justly and necessarily made.
We are going to be united with all the other families to make continuous demands of the police.
And we have to continue to try to find a way and a solution to keep cutting them back.
Finally, I repeat once again to the Supervisors, make this one count for real.
Because otherwise the police won’t change at all the way they mistreat people.
Video public comment by Adriana Camarena
Adriana Camarena, member of Justice 4 Luis, expressed her deep disappointment in the current negotiated cuts to the police budget, “…I believe you can do better. You can layoff police. … by saying that you can’t affect their profession you are saying that it is ok to maintain legacy policing, where families are impacted, traumatized; where people are murdered and there’s absolutely no consequence, no accountability. As you know in this case, like so many others and there’s never any justice for these families. And so the time has come to rally … to rise up to the challenge to re-imagine this institution and dismantle a system of oppression that impacts Black, Indigenous, People of Color the most…”