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2 Feb 2021

Cassie Cowan, From Allies to Abolitionists - Denver

Commentary: Private security firms also need to be scrutinized during the Defund the Police movement

After celebrating a successful art exhibition showcasing his work in Denver, CO artist Raverro Stinnett sat at Union Station waiting for his train home... James Hunter, a supervisor with Allied Universal, lured Raverro into a bathroom away from any security cameras where he proceeded to beat him with leather studded gloves while three other Allied security guards stood watch. They left him without medical assistance.

... Raverro’s story is shocking, but it’s even more alarming to learn that there are similar incidents happening across the United States, and the world, by Allied Security, G4S, and other private security firms. Private security firms have a disturbing history of racially motivated violence in the US, yet local governments and businesses across the country continue to contract with them.

... Allied Universal incidents include transit riders dying in the custody of private security firms and assaults against displaced people looking for shelter... Allied Universal security officers assaulting black teenagers at a bus stop and handcuffing a black teenager outside a mall who was then bitten by the officer’s dog... In November 2019, the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund blacklisted G4S over human rights concerns.

... Currently Allied Universal, backed by private equity firm Warburg Pincus, is bidding to acquire G4S. If G4S’ shareholders approve the acquisition, Allied would become the largest private security firm in the world... We need to ensure that calls to “Defund the Police” result in approaches to safety and security that benefit communities, rather than line the pocketbooks of private security firms with records of abuse. Local, city, and state government officials must stop putting bottom-line calculations above rights-respecting safety measures.

Part of the following timelines

USA: Allied Universal settles lawsuit over staff beating of a Denver artist & city council rejects $25M contract with the firm

USA: Anti-racist group calls for community-centered safety approaches instead of hiring private security firms with records of abuse