Protesters have been camped outside the Durham Police Department since Monday night. That's when the Durham City Council approved a 5% increase in the police budget, bringing it to $70 million.
Skip Gibbs of the group Other America Movement says the city should be intentionally reducing the police budget to invest in alternatives.
“It's a problem for those people I was just talking to across the street. It's a problem for the people who are down at the bus terminal. It's a problem for all of it for us. And they did it because of inflation,” Gibbs said. “But it's like, why should your economic model or your economic issues be addressed with $70 million, and those same people who are affected by the same economic model or the same economic issue, their issues shouldn't be addressed?”
Several protesters said Durham police should be doing more to help residents of the low-income neighborhoods that surround their headquarters.
The council also voted Monday night to dedicate $1 million toward a safety and wellness task force that will look at alternatives to policing, according to multiple media reports.
According to a report presented to the council on June 4, violent crime and property crime in Durham both increased by 24% during the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019.