Since the protests decrying the murder of George Floyd began in May, the institution of American policing has taken center stage. Activists are calling for change, and the phrase “defund the police” can be heard in cities across the country. As the concept of slashing police budgets and reinvesting those resources into Black and Brown communities goes increasingly mainstream, a more radical call is also gaining attention: Abolish the Police.

On At Liberty this week, attorney, author, researcher, and organizer Andrea Ritchie and senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s Trone Center for Justice, Carl Takei, joined us to talk abolition, divestment, and what a world without police might look.

“[Abolition is] about recognizing the instinct in all of us to punish people who hurt us, or to seek retribution instead of repair, and to acknowledge that actually in order to create a society that is free from violence, we have to move away from mobilizing the state and giving the state a monopoly on violence to respond to violence,” says Ritchie. “Instead, we need to dig to the root causes of violence and transform those conditions and causes, such that we can all have an opportunity to live in a world free of violence, not just people who are in positions of privilege in the current political, social, economic structure.”

Should We Abolish The Police?