As movements for racial and environmental justice escalate across the US, these struggles – which, as groups like the National Black Environmental Justice Network point out, must be seen as one – have a common foe: the fossil fuel industry. The same companies that drive environmental racism in Black and Brown communities through toxic and climate-changing pollution also fund police power in cities that stretch from Houston and Detroit to New Orleans and Salt Lake City.
Oil and gas companies, private utilities, and financial institutions that bankroll fossil fuels are all big backers of police foundations, which privately raise money to buy weapons, equipment, and surveillance technology for police departments, bypassing already outsized public police budgets. These corporate actors – from Chevron and Shell to Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase – can be found serving as directors and funders of police foundations nationwide. Furthermore, these companies sponsor events and galas that celebrate the police and remind the public that police power is backed up by corporate power.