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When protesters cry ‘Defund the police’, what does it mean?

WASHINGTON (AP) – Protesters are pushing to “disappear police” over the deaths of George Floyd and other black Americans killed by law enforcement. Their song has become a rallying cry – and a stick that President Donald Trump needs to spend on Democrats when he presents them as soft on crime.

But what does “reject the police” mean? It’s not necessarily about loops of police department budgets.


Supporters say it’s not about removing police departments or strip agencies of all their money. They say it’s time for the country to address systemic police problems in America and spend more on what communities across the United States need, such as Housing and education.

State and local governments spent $ 1

15 billion on police work in 2017, according to data compiled by the Urban Institute.

“Why can’t we look at what it’s like to reorganize our priorities so people don’t have to be on the streets during a national pandemic?” Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza asked during a conversation on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Activists recognize that this is a gradual process.

The MPD150 group, which says it “works toward a police-free Minneapolis,” argues that such action will be more about “strategic redistribution of resources, funding and responsibility away from the police and toward community-based models of security, support and prevention. . “

“The people who respond to crises in our community must be the people who are best equipped to deal with these crises,” the group wrote on its website.

What do lawmakers say?

Senator Cory Booker said he understands the sentiment behind the slogan, but it’s not a slogan he wants to use.

The New Jersey Democrat told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he shares a sentiment with many protesters that Americans are “over-policed” and that “we invest in police that don’t solve problems but make them worse when we need to be, in a more compassionate country, in a more loving country. “

Rep. Karen Bass, D-California, president of the Congressional Black Caucus, said part of the move is really about how the money is spent.

“Now I don’t think you should dissolve police departments,” she said in an interview with CNN. “But I think that in cities, in states, we need to look at how we use resources and invest more in our communities.

“Maybe this is an opportunity to resume public safety,” she said.

President Donald Trump and his campaign regard the emergence of the “Defund the Police” slogan as a spark of opportunity in what has been a political moment. Trump’s response to the protests has given widespread condemnation. But now his supporters say that the new mantra might get voters who might otherwise be sympathetic to the protesters with a “radical” idea.

Trump seized on the parole last week as he spoke at an event in Maine.

“They say get off the cops,” he said. “The findings. Think about it. When I saw it, I said, ‘What are you talking about?’, ‘We don’t want any police,’ they say. Don’t you want police? “

Trump’s 2016 campaign was built on a promise to secure law and order – often in opposition to protests against his rhetoric that followed him across the country. While seeking reelection, Trump is preparing to insert the same argument again – and seems to think the call for “disappeared police” has made the campaign’s applause line even more real to his supporters.


Yes, or at least to reduce their budgets in some major cities.

In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday that the city would move funding from the NYPD to youth initiatives and social services while protecting the city, but he did not provide details.

In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti promised to cut up to $ 150 million, which was part of a planned surge in the police department.

A Minneapolis City Council member said in a tweet on Thursday that the city “would dramatically consider how we approach security and preparedness.”

“We will shut down Minneapolis police,” Jeremiah Ellison wrote. “And when we’re done, we won’t just glue it back together.” He did not explain what would replace the police department.


In general, police and union officials have long resisted cuts in police budgets, arguing that it would make cities less safe.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union for the city’s rank-and-file officers, said budget cuts would be the “fastest way to make our neighborhoods more dangerous.”

“Cutting down the LAPD budget means longer responses to 911 emergency calls, officers requiring backup do not get it, and rape, murder and assault investigations will not occur or will take forever to initiate, so much more quit,” the union said the board in a statement last week.

“At present, with rising violent crime, a global pandemic and nearly a week’s worth of violence, arson and looting is what” depletes “the LAPD the most irresponsible one can suggest.”

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