A new report from the Public Accountability Initiative exposes how corporate America is actually bankrolling police departments across the country, many of which are the same businesses that claim to be supporting Black Lives Matter.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jaime Dimon very publicly took a knee outside a New York branch of his bank in early June, to support Black Lives Matter. Dimon also circulated a memo declaring the bank’s alleged “dedication” to struggling against injustice. “Let us be clear — we are watching, listening, and want every single one of you to know we are committed to fighting against racism and discrimination wherever and however it exists,” Dimon and the company’s diversity chief wrote.
JPMorgan wasn’t the only company to back Black Lives Matter as a PR move. Two oil giants also joined in on the new “woke” message that Black Lives Matter attempting to reframe their image. Marathon Petroleum, the U.S.’s 22nd largest business according to Fortune magazine, its public Facebook page, declared itself to “stand firmly against racism, intolerance and hate of any kind.” “Commemorating the ending of slavery in the U.S. is one way we’re encouraging learning and empathetic dialogue among our employees, as we work together to identify meaningful ways we can make progress,” the company wrote.
Chevron a company responsible for oil spills in Ecuador which have refused to pay the Amazonians for damages also tried to emphasize with the movement. “Black lives matter,” it said via Twitter, sharing words from its CEO Mike Wirth, who claimed he, “shared the anger and pain felt by so many Americans at the recent killings of unarmed black men and women.” “Racism and brutality,” he added, “have no place in America.”
However, according to the Public Accountability Initiative’s new study these companies were responsible for bankrolling police departments across the U.S, by giving money to police foundations. The corporations essentially bought weapons, equipment, and surveillance technology for law enforcement adding to the struggle of police brutality enabling it in essence.
“These companies, which rely on extraction and exploitation to secure their profits, have an incentive to form tight bonds with police forces, which function to uphold and protect their interests in the face of community opposition. In many states, these companies go so far as to back laws to criminalize protests of dirty energy projects such as pipelines, openly weaponizing the police and criminal justice system to protect the profits of the fossil fuel industry and the banks that fund them,” Public Accountability Initiative write.
For instance, JP Morgan Chase is an official “corporate partner of police” according to the report. In fact, in 2011 during the Occupy Wall St protests the financial institution donated $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation. Marathon, a company synonymous in Michigan with polluting communities of color, also has a close relationship with the police, its Security Director sitting on the board of Detroit’s police foundation. Meanwhile, Chevron is a top corporate sponsor of police departments all over the country, including in New Orleans, Houston, and Salt Lake City. Together, these companies not only donate huge sums to law enforcement but also sponsor events and galas celebrating the institution, reminding the public, in the report’s words, “that police power is backed up by corporate power.”
The list funding police is way larger than just these three companies, according to the report, these are some of the other companies supporting police departments across the U.S. The report expresses that the “fossil fuel industry” and many of the most powerful private utilities and financial institutions that drive environmental injustice are also backers of police departments. These companies include — Shell, Blackrock, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo to name a few.
BlackRock’s Larry Fink is a big supporter of the one of the most powerful police foundations in the US, the NYC Police Foundation. Not only is Fink a donor to the foundation, but he has also co-chaired its annual gala from 2016 to 2019. Color of Change, which calls itself “the nation’s largest online racial justice organization,” is currently demanding that Fink and BlackRock stop supporting the foundation.
Bank of America is a sponsor of the Philadelphia Police Foundation and has seats on the Chicago, NYC, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police foundation boards. Its charitable arm has given $200,000 to the NYC Police Foundation, $51,250 to the Atlanta Police Foundation, $25,000 to the Boston Police Foundation, $10,000 to the Los Angeles Police Foundation, and smaller donations to police foundations in Sarasota, Duluth, Sacramento, and elsewhere.
Wells Fargo is a platinum sponsor and has two board seats with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Foundation. It is also a partner and donor to the Seattle Police Foundation, a director and sponsor of the Atlanta Police Foundation, and a donor to the Salt Lake City Police Foundation.
These “woke” corporations like — JPMorgan Chase, Chevron, and Marathon claim to be supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, however, their money trail to police, the report expresses helps to “tyrannize the very communities” these corporate entities are claiming to stand with against injustice.
There are way too many to list here in this article, see the unsurprising list exposing corporate America compiled by LittleSis.org here.