BOSTON (CBS) – Hundreds marched for more than three miles in the heat from the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury to the State House on Beacon Hill, urging lawmakers not to direct more money to law enforcement.
“Reinvest our money into programming and social justice movements for black and brown kids,” shouted organizer Monica Cannon-Grant from the steps of the State House. The crowd yelled back, “yeah!”
She criticized a proposal by Governor Charlie Baker to award police bonuses for de-escalation and anti-bias training. “Nobody should have to pay you to not be racist. That’s not an incentive. That should come as part of the job,” she said.
Also in the crowd, 24-year-old Eric Garner, Jr. His father died six years ago in New York City when police there held him in a chokehold during his arrest. “I feel like I’m a voice for young people,” he said.
While the march moved through Boston, city councilors debated Mayor Marty Walsh’s proposal to re-allocate 12 million dollars from the police budget, and whether it goes far enough. “I think there is this opportunity to do something different,” said Council President Kim Janey. “We don’t want to keep nibbling around the edges. People don’t want incremental change. We need big, bold, radical progressive change.”
But if councilors can’t agree on how to do that within their budget this week, Boston Chief Financial Officer Emme Handy said city workers will lose jobs. “There will be some layoffs,” she said. “We don’t know where exactly, we don’t know how many. We certainly don’t know who.”
The vote on the budget is scheduled for Wednesday.