By Shady Gonzales
OAKLAND, CA – The Oakland Police Dept.—according to the Anti Police-Terror Project—has been given more than $87 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds that were supposed to be allocated as disaster relief funds to help individuals and families negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This, said the police reform group, brings the total amount of ARPA funds given to the Oakland Police Dept. to more than $120 million. The Oakland Police Dept. was the only department in the city to receive any ARPA funds. The ARPA funds were in addition to the $336 million annual budget allocated to the police by the city for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.
The current total budget for Oakland police, including the ARPA “disaster relief” monies, is approaching a half billion dollars.
The Anti Police-Terror Project suggested, rather than aiding these struggling families, “two-thirds of Oakland’s COVID relief funding was wasted to criminalize the individuals most impacted by the pandemic.”
The project also revealed that, during the last year, homelessness in Oakland “rose by 24 percent, making more than 5,000 more people” in the area houseless.
Schools that primarily serve Black and Brown kids are being forced to shut down across the city due to lack of funding, said the Anti Police-Terror Project.
The pandemic only exacerbated Oakland’s decades-long struggles with violence, joblessness, and houselessness, the social justice group charged, resulting in the permanent closures of thousands of small businesses in the city