Joe Biden is not on board the national movement from the progressive left to “defund the police” according to his campaign spokesperson.
Black Lives Matter organizers are painting “Defund the Police” in yellow paint on 16th Street right now pic.twitter.com/62zFMPXXOo
— Samantha Schmidt (@schmidtsam7) June 7, 2020
TheHill reports Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden’s campaign said on Monday that the former vice president does not support calls to defund the police amid growing calls to do so by activists across the country.
“As his criminal justice proposal made clear months ago, Vice President Biden does not believe that police should be defunded,” Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates told reporters.
“He hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change, and is driven to ensure that justice is done and that we put a stop to this terrible pain,” Bates added. “Biden supports the urgent need for reform — including funding for public schools, summer programs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment separate from funding for policing — so that officers can focus on the job of policing.”
Calls to defund police have grown amid nationwide protests over the death last month of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest. A majority of the Minneapolis City Council voted to disband the local police department and replace the office with what members have said will be a new model of public safety.
Democrats have largely embraced calls to reform police departments, but have stopped short of endorsing calls to defund police. Republicans have seized on the issue to argue Democrats are going too far with their calls for reforms.
The Biden campaign said that Biden does support the funding of community policing programs that work to improve relations between police and communities, as well as diversifying police departments. He also backs the use of police body cameras.
The campaign took a swipe at President Trump’s response to the issue, saying the administration has made reform difficult.
“There are many police departments across the country who are seeking to realize these kinds of changes, but haven’t had the resources to — and the Trump administration has in fact made obtaining those resources more difficult. This is at the core of Joe Biden’s plan to bring transformative change to our criminal justice system,” Bates said.