John Legend: Paying Police Officers, Building Prisons ‘Destructive For Our Society’

Since the Black Lives Matter protests erupted across the nation, singer John Legend has been a leading voice in calls to defund the police. Now, he says that paying cops and building prisons are “destructive for our society.”
Speaking with Los Angeles Times, Legend said that more money should be spent on the “front end,” which would, in turn, generate more success in poorer communities, which would, in turn, create less need for policing.
“If we spend the money on the front end, so that folks have a chance to succeed, then we don’t have to spend it on the back end, paying a bunch of cops and building a bunch of prisons and all these other things that are really expensive and destructive for our society,” he said.
Legend even accused the police of lying about incidents of wrongdoing, noting that cameras and modern technology have made police brutality more transparent.
“We’ve come to the realization that these accounts from the police are almost never to be believed, particularly when they don’t admit any wrongdoing, because almost every single time it doesn’t match up with what’s on the camera,” Legend said. “Camera phones and social media have been a significant difference in this whole movement. These conversations and these uprisings have been happening for literally decades, and nobody believed us when we said this isn’t fair, we’re being abused, we’re being killed with no accountability. People didn’t believe us, and now they finally do because the proof is there.”
Going forward, Legend said that activists need to put in the hard work to make change after the current wave of protests die down.
“These protests are very important, and they get a lot of media attention and have been really moving for the country,” he said. “But they start to kind of die down, and that’s when a lot of the work has to happen still.”
Earlier this month, John Legend vocally supported the Defund the Police movement, alleging that cities spend far too much on police departments.
“I know this word ‘defund’ has caused some controversy, even from some who are inclined to agree with a lot of the underlying arguments,” Legend wrote on Twitter. “Some hear that word and envision The Purge, some dystopian descent into anarchy.”
“Some intentionally want to cast the argument in extremes like that so they can score political points,” he continued. “But I ask that those of you who are reasonable and actually care about making this country healthy and safe for all people engage with the thoughtful arguments in this piece. Police funding takes up a huge portion of our local budgets. Budgets are moral documents which spell out in black and white what our priorities are. We have finite amounts of money to spend and right now we spend far too much on policing.”
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