Major oil and gas companies, utilities, and banks that fund fossil fuel extraction donate heavily to police slush funds that enable police departments to purchase weapons and other equipment with little if any transparency requirements, according to a new report.
The findings, released by the Public Accountability Initiative and its research database project LittleSis, “shed a harsh light on the ways police violence and systemic racism intersect with the climate crisis,” Carroll Muffett, the president of the Center for International Environmental Law told The Guardian.
Pollution from burning fossil fuels disproportionately harms black Americans, who are also six times more likely to be killed by police than white Americans. Many, though not all, of the connections are geographically based. For example, Marathon sponsors a Detroit police foundation and its security coordinator is on the foundation’s board.
Marathon also operates a refinery in Detroit that has received 15 violations from the state environmental regulator since 2013 and has long been accused of disproportionately harming local Black and Brown communities. Police foundations have emerged over the past half-century as supplemental revenue streams for police departments around the country, but since they operate outside official government funding mechanisms, they are not held to the same transparency and public accountability requirements.