FRIDAY, Sept. 11 — About two dozen local organizers marched to Mayor Andy Schor’s house last night to demand that he “act with urgency” on police defunding, the group’s representative said today.
“Mayor Schor has not been doing anything to defund the police the last couple of months,” said Shelby Krohn of the Graduate Employees Union at Michigan State University. “When people’s lives are on the line, we need people to act with urgently, and he’s not willing to act with the certainty and urgency Lansing needs.”
Schor was not immediately available for comment today. Krohn said he did not come out of his home, on Moores River Drive, while they were there around 9 p.m. They carried a large sign that said “No Justice No Sleep” as they banged and sang in the street in front of Schor’s house. Krohn said she saw people moving around inside the house.
“It’s just really telling that the people of Lansing are scared and looking for leadership and the mayor is ignoring people and not taking a stand.”
Krohn said her group’s position is “cities don’t need police. They only further violence against people." She said the $46 million budgeted for police should be used to invest in the community though housing, green jobs and other means.
Krohn also said that “it’s very clear cut that the police are harming people.” Asked how, she said through “evictions — that’s a really big one.” Asked for an example, she said, “When you look at evictions, that’s a really big one.” She claimed that there was an “incident of police brutality” during an eviction last summer. But when pressed, she said, “I heard about it through the Lansing Tenants Union. I don’t know any more.”
She also cited the use of tear gas by the police during a downtown protest at the end of May.
Asked what’s next for the group, she said, “We’re going to keep organizing. We’re going to keep building power.”
A press release said Schor has failed to address evictions and the pandemic as well as police defunding.
This summer, a group of community members pulled together by Schor has held listening sessions on social equity and justice issues, including police defunding, but it has not made any recommendations.
Meanwhile, a City Council committee is considering such measures as adding four or five social workers to the Police Department or as first responders through the Fire Department. There would also be funds for more training for police officers.
A press release from the group said it comprises “local Lansing organizations and residents, including the Lansing Tenants Union, Graduate Employees Union (GEU), Michigan Student Power Network (MSPN), and Sunrise Lansing, all rallying around a shared desire for a better Lansing.”
“The action is known as a ‘wide awake’ which calls upon abolitionist tactics to pressure politicians to be held accountable for progressive change. At these actions, the community demands politicians literally and figuratively wake up to the problems they ignore, refusing to be silent until their needs are addressed.”