Amid nationwide outrage over the May 25 police assassination of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and other shootings of blacks by police, the movement to “defund the police” became a rallying cry at protests across the country.
Critics accused him of undermining support for the police. Not only has it been criticized by the opposition, but they have also used the term’s ambiguity to obscure the movement’s intention, which is to reallocate means of punitive action in situations that don’t necessarily require them.
Those advocating defunding argue that transferring funds from policing to community care and organizations such as public health centres and schools would serve as investments in underprivileged communities and tackle systemic racism.
Other activists have gone a step further and equate defunding with the abolition of police forces.
The movement was also chastised by powerful police unions and even participated in the 2020 elections. Ahead of the election, the Trump campaign wrongfully accused that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris wanted to undo the police in an attempt to contact the more progressive movements of the Democratic Party for the elections.
“I don’t want to defund police departments. I think they need more help, they need more assistance, but that, look, there are unethical senators, there are unethical presidents, there are unethical doctors, unethical lawyers, unethical prosecutors, there are crooked cops. They should be rooted out,” Biden told ABC News’s Robin Roberts in August.
Joe Biden once again pushed the cops. Now he is taking up the challenge of police reform under his term.
Congress passed some reform legislation for the police, and some city officials have included reform efforts in their budgets. Yet, six months after the killing of Floyd, an incoming Biden administration, a deadlocked Congress and the looming power of police unions in local and federal politics could be one of the factors influencing the defunding of the police movement, several experts and lawyers told ABC. News.
A misrepresented movement?
One of the obstacles the movement faced in gaining widespread support is a misrepresentation, said Tom Nolan. He served as a Boston police officer for 27 years and is now a professor of sociology at Emmanuel College.
The movement to dismantle the police has been “twisted” and “it has been turned into a cliché” casting “anyone who would do anything other than unwavering support for the police” as “someone who hates the police”, he said. Nolan said.
“The people who are looking to examine and reevaluate the police are ultimately police supporters, and I count myself as one of them,” he added, arguing that in some cases, refinancing is a necessary step in police reform that will affect both the community and law enforcement.
64% of Americans are against ‘defund the police’ movement, key goals: POLL
However, for those Americans who advocate defunding, there are different views and goals as to what the movement should achieve.
Some believe that cutting funding means getting rid of the police, said Phillip Atiba Goff, CEO of the Center for Policing Equity.
But for others, “defund is a tactic that means we need less money to invest in punitive structures and surveillance, and more money to invest in resources that protect people from violence first. place,” he said.