Black Lives Matter rallies call for defunding of Boise Police and reallocation of city funds

Photo by Ashley L. Clark

An estimated 200 protestors took to the steps of Boise City Hall on both Thursday and Friday evening for two Black Lives Matter rallies. 

The June 16 rally was the first protest held by Black Lives Matter Boise, which is currently in the process of getting 501c status in order to be inducted as an official chapter into the Black Lives Matter national organization. 

Organizers called for defunding local police systems in order to reallocate funds to other community needs, like education, the arts, the homeless population and social services. Police funding currently holds 28% or $70 million of the city’s total budget. 

The demonstration came just hours after Interim Boise Police Chief Ron Winegar hosted a telecom city council meeting outlining Boise Police Department’s policies on the use of force.

Speakers called out Boise Mayor Lauren McLean for focusing on property tax instead of addressing the national and local outcry for police defunding. McLean has previously stated she does not support defunding the police.

McLean was spotted in the crowd listening to speakers. Some of whom discussed their disappointment in the mayor stating: “We supported you and we voted for you because we thought you would be better than Bieter.”

During the June 17 rally, protestors voiced concerns about the new Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee. In his previous position, Lee received strong backlash and scrutiny for choosing a Portland Assistant Chief successor that had been caught collaborating with local white supremacist groups

Boise City Council is scheduled for its next budget meeting on June 23. 

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