Statement from Councilwoman Carmen Castillo Regarding Black Lives Matters and the Call to Defund the Police

Aug 17, 2020 | 0 comments

I want to be very clear that as a woman of color, I fully support the Black Lives Matters movement. I also agree that we need to enact reforms and training for our Police Department to ensure cultural competency and to educate our officers on racial biases.
This past weekend, a video was shared that did not show the totality of my statement. After watching the video, I had a conversation with Nika Salazar and asked her to please retract and put out my full statement. She apologized and promised to solve this misunderstanding and put out the full video, which so far has not happened. That’s why I decided to give this statement today.
To be clear, I stated that I could not support defunding the police in the way that I was asked. I do not agree at this time to give the police department more funding for their pensions. We need to look at the police department’s pensions and some of the wage increases they’re asking for and possibly make cuts in those areas. Still, I am not in favor of completely defunding or abolishing the police department.
My neighborhood needs more police officers, not less. I pledge to examine the budget and see areas where we could eliminate unnecessary costs and redirect them to affordable housing and education. Having said that, I sincerely believe that we need to fund our police department so that they can do their job safely. The area south of Providence is diverse and beautiful, but crime and violence remain a problem. As Councilwoman for Ward 9, I am committed to protecting the quality of life of my neighbors, and that means supporting public safety.
As a member of the Committee on Finance, I am in support of Chairman Igliozzi’s desire to create a social services unit that would be devoted to responding to calls that the Providence Police Department doesn’t believe would warrant an armed response. I agree that we need to repeal the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights so that our Chief of Police can readily act when an officer is accused of a crime.
I stand in solidarity with those calling for reforms and working towards the goal of ensuring anti-biases within our police ranks.
Carmen Castillo
Providence City Council
Councilwoman – Ward 9
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