Group calls for Waterloo Region to pull $29 million from police budget
Protesters rally Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Phoenix, demanding the Phoenix City Council defund the Phoenix Police Department. The protest is a result of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Matt York)
KITCHENER -- Two local groups continued their calls to defund police at Waterloo Regional Council on Wednesday night.
The African, Carribean and Black Network and members of Black Lives Matter Waterloo Region have called for council to pull $29 million from the Waterloo Regional Police Service's budget.
Regional councillors recommended six steps at Wednesday’s meeting to address the issues that were brought forward, including funding affordable housing initiatives and funding Black-led social agencies.
However, the recommendations didn't include defunding the police, an issue at the forefront of the movement.
"The meeting of the Regional Council held on June 24 did not directly address any of the content
from our calls to action from the June 3rd march," a news release from the ACB Network read in part, referencing the Black Lives Matter march in downtown Kitchener that drew thousands.
Regional councillors said at the meeting that they will continue to listen to concerns brought forward by the group.
In its news release, though, the ACB Network continued to call for the minimum defunding of $29.3 million from the police budget.
Since the march in downtown Kitchener, the Waterloo Region District School Board has agreed to pause its school resource officer program while it's reviewed.
The ACB Network has reaffirmed its calls to have them removed from schools and to have campus police defunded.
The City of Kitchener also agreed to review COPs (Community Outreach Program) after complaints from the public.
The network calls for the review to be done by an independent third party.
A previous version of this story suggested that the call for defunding came from Black Lives Matter Waterloo Region. In fact, both Black Lives Matter Waterloo Region and the African Caribbean Black Network of Waterloo Region are calling for the defunding.