Bernie Sanders, Key Dems Pushing Back On ‘Defund The Police’ As Progressives Press Forward

Key Democrat legislators, including socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and members of the Congressional Black Caucus, are pushing back on calls to “defund the police,” Politico reports Tuesday, even as progressives are pushing forward with the plan in cities like Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Los Angeles, California.
In a New Yorker profile published Tuesday, Sanders, whose campaign platform included calls for massive social and political change, said he opposes defunding and disbanding police departments and is, instead, committed to “transforming” most police departments by providing officers with better resources to handle calls involving individuals suffering from mental illness or deprivation.
“Do I think we should not have police departments in America? No, I don’t,” Sanders told The New Yorker. “There’s no city in the world that does not have police departments. What you need are—I didn’t call for more money for police departments. I called for police departments that have well-educated, well-trained, well-paid professionals.”
Sanders suggested making law enforcement jobs higher paid and more appealing to those with higher levels of education, but as for abolishing police departments? “I don’t agree,” Sanders said.
It seems other key Democrats agree. The Daily Caller reports that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) refused to respond to questions about defunding police departments at a press conference yesterday, instead referring reporters to legislation proposed early Monday.
“On if they support Defund the Police movement, @speakerpelosi, and @RepKarenBass don’t say directly but say they have more legislation coming that deals with ‘jobs and justice,'” NBC News reporter Leigh Ann Caldwell tweeted, adding that the Speaker, particularly, was eager to pass the buck. “Pelosi says they need to ‘rebalance some of our funding’ and have those debates at the local level.”
Politico reports Tuesday that even members of the Congressional Black Caucus, largely the driving force behind anti-racism and law enforcement reform efforts at the federal level, are pressing back on progressive calls to defund the police.
“I think it can be used as a distraction and that’s my concern,” Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), the CBC’s chairwoman told reporters. “I think the intent behind it is something that I support — the idea that communities need investments.”
“We’re keeping our eyes on the prize, and that needs to be the story. State and local will do what state and local needs to do,” Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE.), another member of the CBC added. “We are the Congress. What we’re doing here today is our role.”
Rep. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who has a solid reputation as a more moderate Democrat legislator, put it more bluntly, according to Politico: “You can’t defund the police, that’s stupid, it’s crazy and anyone who talks about that is nuts,” he said. “You have to have the police.”
Since the bumper sticker slogan surfaced at anti-racism protests last week, even progressives have tried to water down calls for “defunding,” arguing that the phrase means simple “reforms” or “community reinvestment,” while refusing to alter the term.
Powered by Blogger.