Statement on Cop City Fitchburg
Late last year, Fitchburg Police attempted to push through a $50 million so-called “public safety facility”. It is evident that they tried to finesse the community and approve the budget with little to no information shared with the public. Fortunately, the mayor was able to pause the process, and now it's up to the community to put an end to this irresponsible use of public funds.
Freedom, Inc.'s members, and allies believe public funds should be invested in the Black and Southeast Asian community, not in planning and preparing for our arrest and destruction. We see that the economy is crumbling, poverty is escalating, and people are desperately needing affordable housing, healthcare, food, and access to social services. This is especially true for most impacted people, like women facing domestic violence, young people, immigrants, and LGBTQIA+ folx. The police continue to ignore the needs of the community in favor of locking us up for surviving white supremacy, patriarchy and capitalism.
The increased police budget in Fitchburg is deeply connected to anti-blackness and the gentrification of Black communities in south Madison. The Fitchburg police department shamelessly uses fear-mongering and relies on criminalizing stereotypes of Black people to manipulate and rally support. Their insistence that Black people moving from Madison to Fitchburg will lead to an upsurge in crime is nothing but a deceitful tactic. It is clear that they cannot be trusted to prioritize the safety and well-being of our community.
Common sense and countless research studies tell us that more state violence is not the answer. When we provide life-affirming services to most impacted people, they will not resort to survival activities, rendering a larger police force unnecessary altogether. If they genuinely cared about creating a safer and better community, they would invest in its community; not police. The refusal to spend $50 million on investing in the future of low-income Black and SEA communities reveals that their true motive for expanding the police department is not to enhance community safety but to target most impacted community members.
The national trend of constructing oversized police facilities, a.k.a. CopCities, is an alarming and treacherous path that Dane County must steer clear of entirely. Policing practices and public spending priorities perpetuate systemic racism and oppression against Black and SEA communities. Freedom, Inc. firmly believes that officials must prioritize the needs of the community over the financially irresponsible police budget in Fitchburg. We know that we keep us safe.
We need folx to attend and provide your feedback at the City of Fitchburg Public Information Meeting on Thursday, February 8th, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at Leopold Elementary School. Then show up and show out at the Common Council Meeting on Tuesday, February 13th at 7:30 PM at Fitchburg City Hall and let the council know we don’t want a “public safety facility” in our community.
Love & Power,