Demands regarding policing in Tampa:

8.6 minute read

June 2020

We, the members of Tampa Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), have developed a list of demands to address the violent policing system that fails to efficiently serve and protect members of the Tampa Bay community—particularly our communities of color. The urgency with which we present these demands is driven by the brutal murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department on May 25, 2020, the most recent in a long line of black lives lost to police brutality. Black Lives Matter.

Tampa DSA demands justice for all acts of police violence that have and continue to threaten the health, safety, and livelihood of our communities. As a democratic socialist organization that is committed to fighting all forms of systemic oppression, our list of demands is presented within an intersectional, class-conscious framework that seeks to ultimately dismantle an inherently oppressive policing system. This vision can be achieved through a series of justice-oriented actions that include demanding accountability for racist police brutality and repurposing our bloated police budget to better serve the interests of our communities.

We demand that the City of Tampa:

  • Cut 15% of the Tampa Police Department’s budget (which currently accounts for over 38% of our city’s general fund and 18.6% of the total city budget) and redirect this money towards public transportation, low-income housing, education, and community public health centers by 2022.
  • Decouple access to healthcare from policing by building separate institutions for clinical dispatches. Increase the number of 24/7 Adult and Child Mobile Crisis Teams responding to mental health crises, ensuring that each team includes both a Certified Peer Support Specialist and a licensed clinician. Dispatch only EMTs to calls of drug overdoses. Dispatch licensed clinicians with law enforcement to all calls related to domestic violence.
  • Ban the use of pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets, bean bag bullets, LRADs, and armored vehicles by TPD against public demonstrators.
  • Ban the use of facial recognition software, such as Clearview AI, that infringe upon privacy rights.
  • Cease using quantity of arrests as a performance measure to assess officers of the TPD and instead focus on history of misconduct.
  • Keep the curfew related to public demonstrations lifted indefinitely.
  • Remove requirements for permits to exercise first amendment rights.
  • Adopt a policy to reduce asset forfeiture (which currently accounts for approximately one million dollars of TPD’s budget) including a provision prohibiting the TPD or its employees from benefiting from seized assets. For assetsnthat cannot be returned to the arrested party, the assets should be liquidated and the resultant funds should be diverted to public education and/or mental health services.
  • Dissolve Tampa PD and Hillsborough County School Board’s School Resource Officer (SRO) Program and to completely replace SROs with licensed clinical social workers, psychologists, and nurses in public schools by 2021.
  • Ban the use of no-knock warrants and choke holds.
  • Decriminalize drug possession and sex work.

We demand that Mayor Jane Castor:

  • Call on Governor DeSantis to immediately end the deployment of the National Guard within the City of Tampa.
  • Fire Police Chief Dugan for the Tampa Police Department’s violent use of force against peaceful protesters.

We demand the Tampa Police Department:

  • Issue summons or citations in lieu of utilizing custodial arrests for nonviolent misdemeanors.
  • Investigate prevalence of white supremacist groups and individuals within TPD.
  • Adopt policy requiring full transparency in officer conduct and training history.
  • Disarm all patrol officers by 2022.

Regarding the City of Tampa’s contract with the Tampa Police Benevolent Association, we demand:

  • The City of Tampa renegotiate its contract with TPBA once it expires after 2022 to remedy provisions that currently act as impediments to accountability for officers who use force in violation of the law or policy.
  • Amendments to the existing contract should:
    • Mandate yearly fitness for duty evaluations.
    • Make personnel records of TPD officers accessible to the public.
    • Keep complaints on file, even if the allegations are not deemed to be substantiated.
    • Keep letters of counseling in personnel files permanently.

We demand that State Attorney Andrew Warren:

  • Institute an office-wide policy that assistant state attorneys are not to seek cash bail.
  • Institute an office-wide policy that assistant state attorneys should advocate that defendants be released on their own recognizance unless the defendant is a danger to the community or a flight risk.
  • Immediately drop all existing charges for nonviolent misdemeanor cases.
  • Immediately stop the direct filing of juvenile cases into the adult criminal system, regardless of the severity of the crime.

We demand that the Chief Justice of the 13th Judicial Circuit and the Clerk of Court:

  • Continue the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for the duration of the pandemic.