Article: Demilitarize PGH – Safety in Solidarity

Police in our communities are being trained to be an occupying military force. The deadly falsehood that violence against some communities will create security for others ignores how we find safety through solidarity. We demand an end to all training exchanges between law enforcement agencies operating in Allegheny County and foreign countries’ armed forces, security, and police agencies. These are exchanges of worst practices such as shoot-to-kill policies, racial profiling, massive spying and surveillance, deportation and detention, and attacks on protestors and dissenters.

These trainings do not make Allegheny County residents safer. They have proven to have especially detrimental impacts on communities of color, while doing nothing to stem the rise of anti-semitism and violent white supremacy.

Police departments in Allegheny County have participated in the following training exchanges over the past three years:

 

  • In 2019, a Pittsburgh Police Commander and two Sergeants, and the Chief of Police and Deputy Chief of the Mount Lebanon Police Department, attended an exchange of practices hosted by Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs.
  • In 2018, Pittsburgh Chief of Police Scott Schubert attended a National Counter-Terrorism Seminar in Israel, hosted by the Anti-Defamation League.
  • In 2017, Pittsburgh Police Assistant Chief Anna Kudrava attended a National Counter-Terrorism Seminar in Israel, hosted by the Anti-Defamation League.

 

These trainings are immoral and deadly. Israel’s police and military (the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF) engage in a human rights abuses within Israel’s 1948 borders and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights.

The images of tanks rolling through the streets of Ferguson and Baltimore served as a wakeup call that U.S. police are using the tactics of occupying armies on the people of this country – more often prioritizing protection of private property over human life. This escalating militarized violence is not the answer. Militarized training does not bring us the safety of true solidarity.

We demand that the Mayor of Pittsburgh, City and County Councils, the County Executive and the Chiefs of police themselves end these training exchanges, and make all police training a matter of public record.

Author: L