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City funding of police debated by neighborhood commission

Brad Williams

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The funding of La Crosse’s police department is being debated by the city’s Neighborhood Revitalization Commission.

It comes in the wake of George Floyd’s death and demonstrations in La Crosse and around the country.

La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat said at Monday’s meeting racism in the community needs to be addressed.

“Yes, we do have systemic racism,” Kabat said. “It’s not only policing, it is in housing and affordable housing policies and lending, it’s in just about every facet of our lives.”

The commission cites recent reports from La Crosse police, showing that one-third of all the incidents last year when police used force on someone involved a black person.  The black population makes up only 4 percent of La Crosse’s population. 

Kabat plans to invite Police Chief Shawn Kudron to the commission’s next meeting to discuss police activities.

Commission member Jennifer Trost, a history professor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, cited the recent arrest of a driver on West Avenue as an example of police possibly using more force than needed.

“It’s the entire way that the criminal justice system has been built in order to disproportionately police people of color,” Trost said.    

Other commission members added that La Crosse police do many positive things, but Trost argued focusing on the positive is a way of ignoring the problems that exist.  

The commission said recent budget cuts in La Crosse prompted by the coronavirus lowered police spending by less than 1 percent, compared to a 12 percent cut for the library.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Joe

    August 4, 2020 at 7:31 am

    If I reacted that way when the police attempted to pull me over I would be in cuffs as well. This is not systematic racism. Mr.Tim Kabat please be a better leader. There is nothing else to say.

    • Avatar

      roger thornhill

      August 5, 2020 at 6:30 am

      kabat is a lib, asking him to react otherwise is like asking a dog to act more like a cat. Anybody that believes in systemic racism is an actual idiot. They are excuse makers afraid to deal with the truth because somebodys feelings might get hurt or they themselves are too stupid to actually analyze it.

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