HOUSTON – City council members discussed next year’s city budget as protesters demanded change outside City Hall.
Dozens gathered for a rally Wednesday, a day after George Floyd was laid to rest.
“I’m heartbroken because this is not the America that I thought I would be facing in 2020,” said Mangi Thomas.
The issue of defunding has been a hot topic nationally.
“We not only need to defund police, we need to abolish practices and habits in the police departments and even abolishing the police,” said Ashton Wood with Black Lives Matter Houston.
The council members talked about the re-allocation of nearly $12 million in under-utilized funds to be redirected to city programs, as well as enhanced training for HPD.
“This conversation is about having a real discussion about how we can look at this differently. How we can align with police,” said Council Member Leticia Plummer. “It’s about the root of the problem, it’s not the end result. George Floyd died because of the end result.”
At the funeral of Floyd, Mayor Turner said he would sign an executive order to ban chokeholds, require officers de-escalate situations and use all options before lethal force.
The Houston Police Officers’ Union responded saying chokeholds have been banned for at least 40 years.
Protesters said they want more defunding and dismantling.
“George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis after chokeholds have been banned, you can’t keep ordering executive on orders on something that’s not working,” said Woods. “This is to pacify people, This is to shut people up and I’m not here for it.”
Plummer requested funds for an independent police oversight board and an online portal for people to submit police misconduct.
All of her amendments were voted down.