Iowa City Council member discusses abolishing police

Updated: May. 15, 2021 at 3:55 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - “The abolishment of police would mean that there were no more police,” said Laura Bergus. “I think it was pretty clear. I imagine a long slow process where the community builds alternatives to what our current policing is.”

A city without an armed police force. That was what Council Member Laura Bergus said the city should be working toward, and that included responding to violent incidents.

“Policing that uses lethal force to answer every possible kind of call is premised on punishment,” she said. “It’s premised on violence, and I don’t think, personally, that’s how we protect the members of our community.”

Bergus called the idea of abolishing the police nuanced. She said it was something that many people can’t imagine. It was a topic of conversation at a City Council Work Session where many members said the idea was going too far.

“On this particular issue of even entertaining the idea of abolishing the police department, we’re on opposite sides of the pole,” said Council Member Susan Mims.

“I am not at all in agreement of the word abolish,” said Mayor Bruce Teague.

The council said changes to policing and how it was structured will still be a top topic of conversation. But Bergus said the justice system also needed reform.

“Society can be structured in different ways,” she said. “In the United States, we have chosen punishment.”

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