What Does Our Community Look Like Without Police? Liberty City Workshop Explores The Question In Depth

As seen on the WLRN website October 27th, 2015:


Imagine a community without police. That’s the topic of a workshop in Liberty City Wednesday (Oct. 28).

Organizers say this workshop is in response to national and local conversations happening right now around policing in communities of color.

But beyond examining the current police model, the workshop is pushing the conversation even further –like what a community would be like if there were no police officers at all.

This isn’t about good cops or bad cops,” said Hashim Benford, director of Power U Center For Social Change, which is hosting the workshop, “… it’s about the institution of policing itself [because] I think there’s this underlying assumption that policing is inherent to modern society and what we need to do is make it better. What we’re saying is that policing itself is the problem.”

On social media, the premise of the workshop has raised some questions. Is such a world even possible?

On the group’s Facebook event page, Amy Carswell, who works for the Miami-Dade Community Relations Board, wrote, “I wish we could abolish the criminal justice system in our country, but what is the alternative? What is the strategy, the philosophical underpinning and the research proving the efficacy of the approach?”

She continued, “What about actors who intend to hurt people, who only care about taking, who lash out at others? From a public policy standpoint, what is the proposal?”

This is not a new conversation, the idea of abolishing police, but it has picked up steam around the #BlackLiveMatter movement which has highlighted the disproportionate rate in which people of color are killed by police.

Benford said this  community workshop is an opportunity to think beyond law enforcement to solve the root causes of problems within the community that can lead to interactions with the criminal justice system.

If You Go:

Power U Center For Social Change

6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

745 NW 54th St.