George Floyd’s death is raising questions about why police departments need money from taxpayers to strengthen an institution that’s broken and riddled with violence and systemic racism, according to protesters all over the U.S.
“Defund the police” signs have been showing up with growing frequency at protests in the 16 days since Floyd’s death on Memorial Day after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s answer for calls to “defund the police” is to call for more police funding — for reforms.
“I do not support defunding police,” Biden said in an op-ed piece for USA Today. “The better answer is to give police departments the resources they need to implement meaningful reforms and to condition other federal dollars on completing those reforms.”
President Trump also has no plans to cut police funding. “We won’t be defunding our police,” he said at a recent meeting with law enforcement leaders at the White House. “We won’t be dismantling our police, and there’s not going to be any disbanding of our police.”
Specifically, Biden said he wants to fund community policing — “getting cops out of their cruisers and building relationships with the people and the communities they are there to serve and protect.”
Floyd was captured on video as he lay in the street near the 3rd precinct in Minneapolis, begging for his life and saying repeatedly, “I can’t breathe”. The precinct building was set on fire when the protest turned violent.
Biden said he proposes giving police departments an additional $300 million “to reinvigorate community policing in our country. Every single police department should have the money it needs to institute real reforms like adopting a national use of force standard, buying body cameras and recruiting more diverse police officers.”
State and local governments have consistently spent about 4 percent of their total budgets on police in the past 40 years, according to the Urban Institute, Fortune reported. That amounted to a combined $115 billion in fiscal 2017.
Social media users pointed out how well-funded some police departments appear to be at the expense of other vital services.
“My friend just lost her job as a counselor at an inner city Los Angeles public school. The kids won’t have a counseling program now. Also, here is an LAPD Tesla,” Kate Rose tweeted.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he plans to move money from policing to community-outreach programs. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also said he plans cut the police department’s $6-billion annual budget — the country’s largest –and move funds to social services.
Powerful police unions have pushed back against that idea of being defunded.
When it comes time to getting the police vote, some politicians tone down their typical Democratic rhetoric, The New York Times reported. The political game “can turn the candidate with the most liberal reform promises into a conservative champion of law and order once in office.”
Biden blames Trump for making racism worse in the U.S.
“Trump’s hate-filled, conspiracy-laden rhetoric is inflaming the racial divides in our country, but just fixing the way the president talks won’t cut it,” Biden wrote. “We need to root out systemic racism across our laws and institutions, and we need to make sure black Americans have a real shot to get ahead.”
Biden said local officials need “the tools to combat gentrification, end discriminatory lending practices, and eliminate exclusionary zoning laws designed to keep low-income people and people of color out of certain communities.”
“While I do not believe federal dollars should go to police departments violating people’s rights or turning to violence as the first resort, I do not support defunding police,” he wrote. “The better answer is to give police departments the resources they need to implement meaningful reforms, and to condition other federal dollars on completing those reforms.”
Biden’s tough-on-crime track record dates back to the 1990s, when he chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee and played a crucial role in passing the notorious crime bill of 1994.
Biden sought political gain from the crime bill and boasted at a 2007 Democratic presidential debate that the now-infamous law was the “Biden crime bill” before it became known as the “Clinton crime bill.”
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 72: Jamarlin Martin Part 2. J Edgar Hoover, the first director of the FBI, may not be around but his energy is present in new Black politics.
The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act was passed with bipartisan support in 1994 and signed into law.
The bill disproportionately targeted African Americans and worsened racial inequality in the U.S. and the justice system. Its devastating effects are felt to this day. Black Americans represent 13 percent of U.S residents but account for 40 percent of the incarcerated population, according to PrisonPolicy.org.
“Why would anyone be surprised about Biden not supporting defunding the police, he is THE POLICE. How do you think he got so far. Biden’s official statement suggested POLICE need more $ to fix issues and it’s MAGA’s fault they don’t have the resources. Typical Democrat position,” The Moguldom Nation CEO Jamarlin Martin tweeted.