White House Press Secretary defended the importance of police officers during a recent press event.
“You eliminate police officers, you will have chaos, crime, and anarchy in the streets.”
"You eliminate police officers, you will have chaos, crime, and anarchy in the streets." pic.twitter.com/KKVfXHct1o
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 8, 2020
Per FoxNews, in the wake of George Floyd’s death, calls to “defund the police” have in a matter of days escalated from a fringe campaign to a celebrity-backed cause to part of the municipal mainstream — and now appear primed to spur official action, to varying degrees, in cities across the country.
The stunning momentum behind the movement has fueled Republican criticism that “radical” ideas are being readily embraced by Democrats.
On the ground, however, there is a visible conflict between Democrats on board with “defund” and those who want to seek reforms without actually dismantling police departments. This split, and the sudden power that activists wield over local officials on the issue, was perhaps best illustrated over the weekend when Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey faced a crowd of protesters asking him whether he would support abolishing the city’s police department.
Frey, while promising reform to the city’s “systemically racist” policing system and saying “the police union needs to be put in its place,” was asked a “yes or no” question by a protester if he would “commit to defunding the Minneapolis Police Department.”
What OMG this guy is a mayor!!??
— Luke Rudkowski (@Lukewearechange) June 6, 2020
“We don’t want no more police,” the woman questioning him continued. “Is that clear? We don’t want people with guns toting around in our communities, shooting us down.”
“I do not support the abolition” of the police department, Frey said.
He was immediately shouted down. “Get the f— out of here,” the protester responded as others loudly booed Frey, who later reiterated his commitment to reforming the department, despite saying he would not dismantle it entirely.
The movement, like protests across the country, is driven by anger over Floyd’s death in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department.
Supporters of the move told Fox News, “We recognize that we don’t have all the answers about what a police-free future looks like, but our community does. We’re committing to engaging with every willing community member in the city of Minneapolis over the next year to identify what safety looks like for you.”
The calls for dismantling the city police are perhaps the loudest from City Council member Jeremiah Ellison, the son of state Attorney General Keith Ellison. The younger Ellison has said that after taking apart the police department, “we’re not simply gonna glue it back together. We are going to dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response. It’s really past due.”
What defunding the police looks like is different in various localities. In Minneapolis, the supermajority of the city council seemingly supports a complete structural dismantling of the department. In other places, departments would remain in place but get less government resources, with some of their funding directed toward social justice programs.