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Thu Aug 27, 2020, 10:52 PM

Big Corporations Fund Private Police Foundations: Target, Google, BoA, Amazon, FB, Microsoft, Shell

'How Target, Google, Bank of America & Microsoft quietly fund police through private donations.' More than 25 large corporations in the past 3 years have contributed funding to private police foundations, new report. By Kari Paul, The Guardian, *June 18, 2020.

Protests over police violence and racism have amplified calls to re-examine police budgets in the U. S., with several large companies announcing they are re-evaluating their commercial ties with police departments. But a new report sheds light on the myriad other ways corporations engage with police forces, including by donating to police foundations that don’t face the same scrutiny as police departments. The report was released on Thursday by the Public Accountability Initiative, a non-profit corporate & government accountability research institute. It details how more than 25 large corporations in the past 3 years have contributed funding to private police foundations – industry groups designated as non-profits that provide additional funds to police forces.

Police proponents say the foundations have emerged as police departments face budget cuts & are a means to supplement the force with top-of-the-line technology & weaponry. But critics argue police departments are already overfunded – they receive 20% to 45% of discretionary funds in cities across the US – and that funding through foundations allows police to operate with little oversight. *Foundations, according to a 2014 report from ProPublica, “can be a way for wealthy donors & corporations to influence law enforcement agencies’ priorities”. Legally, police budgets are typically public documents that must be approved by elected officials. *But designated as private charities, police foundations are not subject to the same public information laws that apply to law enforcement agencies. These foundations receive millions of dollars a year from private & corporate donors, according to the report, and are able to use the funds to purchase equipment and weapons with little public input.



- Corporations fund millions to private police foundations. -

The analysis notes, for example, how the LA police department in 2007 used foundation funding to purchase surveillance software from controversial technology firm Palantir. *Buying the technology with private foundation funding rather than its public budget allowed the department to bypass requirements to hold public meetings & gain approval from the city council. The Houston police foundation has purchased for the local police department a variety of equipment, including Swat equipment, sound equipment & dogs for the K-9 unit. The Philadelphia police foundation purchased for its police force long guns, drones & ballistic helmets, & the Atlanta police foundation helped fund a major surveillance network of over 12,000 cameras. In addition to weaponry, foundation funding can also go toward specialized training & support programs that complement the department’s policing strategies.

“Not a lot of people are aware of this public-private partnership where corporations & wealthy donors are able to siphon money into police forces with little to no oversight,” said Gin Armstrong, a senior research analyst at LittleSis. Financial institutions, technology companies, retailers, local universities & sports teams, provide funding to police foundations. *Donations may be, in part, to curry favor with a force that exists primarily to protect property & capital, the report said. Police foundations are a key space for orchestrating, normalizing & celebrating the collaboration between corporate power & the police,” the LittleSis report said. Among the companies with ties to police is Amazon. The online giant last week implemented a one-year moratorium on the use of its artificial intelligence software Rekognition by police departments after extended criticism from human rights groups...

More, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/18/police-foundations-nonprofits-amazon-target-microsoft


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*Also: 'Big Oil Companies Have Been Quietly Funding Police Foundations For years,' MIC, July 28, 2020. - Ed.:
https://www.mic.com/p/big-oil-companies-have-been-quietly-funding-police-foundations-for-years-30056322

..According to the report companies including Chevron, Shell, Marathon Petroleum, & a number of other major energy firms have given money to the law enforcement organizations in Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, & Washington, D.C., among other cities. And it’s not just oil companies. Publicly traded utility companies like Exelon, Entergy, and Duke Energy all have ties to these nonprofits that support police departments as well. Cops typically receive funding from the cities and municipalities they serve. The Center for Popular Democracy Action, a nonprofit states most cities spend between 20 to 45% of discretionary budgets on funding the police. As a whole, the U.S. spends more than $100 billion on policing every year, so it is not as though most agencies are strapped for cash.

Yet, police foundations serve to funnel even more money into the coffers of the cops. These organizations are typically set up as nonprofits & raise funds for law enforcement agencies, collecting donations from individuals, local businesses, & national sponsors. That money is then used to fund projects for the police force, including procuring surveillance technology and weaponry. While these organizations typically don't contribute more funding than what comes from the state & local level, *they also are not subject to public oversight. While millions of people across the country continue to advocate for police reform that would strip some of the money budgeted to law enforcement agencies and repurpose it for social programs, police foundations can undermine those efforts.

Across the country, police foundations proudly tout what they have acquired for the cops. The Houston Police Foundation secured SWAT equipment and tactical weaponry for the department. In Philadelphia, a foundation bought the city's police long guns and drones. In Atlanta, a police foundation helped secure funds to create a 12,000 camera city surveillance network. In LA, a police foundation helped local law enforcement secure software from controversial surveillance startup Palantir. All of this happens outside the standard mechanisms of public scrutiny.

Along with providing law enforcement with funds to acquire weapons & technology that the city & the public may not approve of, police foundations also serve as a way for corporations to curry favor & trade cash for influence. A *ProPublica report from 2014 noted that companies that sell services to police often donate to police foundations. Previous reports have found that major corporations like Target, Google, & Microsoft are all noteworthy donors to various police foundations. *Major banks & financial firms including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, & Wells Fargo have also been identified as backers of these organizations...

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Reply Big Corporations Fund Private Police Foundations: Target, Google, BoA, Amazon, FB, Microsoft, Shell (Original post)
appalachiablue Aug 2020 OP
LakeVermilion Aug 2020 #1
2naSalit Aug 2020 #2
alwaysinasnit Aug 2020 #3
UserNotFound Aug 2020 #4
appalachiablue Aug 2020 #6
BeckyDem Aug 2020 #5
sinkingfeeling Aug 2020 #7
dalton99a Aug 2020 #8
appalachiablue Aug 2020 #9

Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Thu Aug 27, 2020, 11:36 PM

1. Our policing descends from the times of slavery...

Can anyone be surprised at this? No wonder the city councils don't control their police forces.

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Thu Aug 27, 2020, 11:48 PM

2. K&R for visibility

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Thu Aug 27, 2020, 11:55 PM

3. K&R Thanks for posting.

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 05:11 AM

4. Thanks for this!

These two sentences should scare the hell out of folks:

"*Donations may be, in part, to curry favor with a force that exists primarily to protect property & capital, the report said. Police foundations are a key space for orchestrating, normalizing & celebrating the collaboration between corporate power & the police,” the LittleSis report said."

LittleSis can be found here:

https://littlesis.org/

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Response to UserNotFound (Reply #4)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 07:25 AM

6. Tx for adding this, a very impt. group.

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 06:57 AM

5. K&R

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 08:54 AM

7. Police departments constantly need more dollars to pay for all

the lawsuits they loose. Some spend over 40% of their budgets for legal expenses.

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 10:01 AM

8. Kick

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 10:28 AM

9. Ultra wealthy corporations don't pay taxes, but fund law

enforcement police. This nation is well on the way to privatization- 'starving the beast,' minimizing govt. and public services- the goal of the extreme right wing libertarian movement of the last 40-50 years. 'Deconstruction of the administrative state' as Bannon put it.

Much of the MIC is private contracting, there's privatized prisons, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, roads, parks, now the U.S. Post Office, and more.

It's a corporate world alright.

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