On June 8th, protests throughout the US continued for the 14th straight day.
One of the most significant calls resulting from the protests are those to “defund the police.”
US President Donald Trump has vowed there won’t be “a dismantling of police”, but some cities have already taken the first steps to doing specifically that, such as Minneapolis where George Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin.
“Defund the police” means taking funds allocated for police forces across the US and channelling them into other public programs.
Those who support the idea claim that US police has become a “catch-all service responsible for dealing with all of society’s problems.” And that is not something they were trained to, or even meant to do.
“Why can’t we look at how it is that we reorganize our priorities so people don’t have to be in the streets during a national pandemic, a global pandemic.” pic.twitter.com/JUazC3is02
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) June 7, 2020
Supporters want the funds that won’t be given to the police to be put for education, housing, mental health support and social services.
“When we talk about defunding the police, what we’re saying is ‘invest in the resources that our communities need,” Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza told NBC’s Meet the Press.
Activists say that previous solutions like body cameras and oversight boards have failed to reform police departments and that now is the time to look at systemic solutions to a problem with a long history.
The idea is that a societal change like that, with more funding in those programs would reduce the need for police, at least in the capacity in which it is actively being funded currently.
“Are we willing to live in fear that our lives will be taken by police officers who are literally using their power in the wrong way?” Garza told Meet the Press. “Or are we willing to adopt and absorb the fear of what it might mean to change our practices, which will ultimately lead to a better quality of life for everyone?”
There are some groups that support the total abolition of police. One of them is MPD150, a group “working towards a police-free Minneapolis”.
“Crime isn’t random. Most of the time, it happens when someone has been unable to meet their basic needs through other means,” the group writes on its website.
“By shifting money away from the police and toward services that actually meet those needs, we’ll be able to get to a place where people won’t need to rob banks.
Sure, in this long transition process, we may need a small specialised class of public servants whose job it is to respond to violent crimes. But part of what we’re talking about here is what role police play in our society. Right now, cops don’t just respond to violent crimes; they make needless traffic stops, arrest petty drug users, and engage in a wide range of ‘broken windows policing’ behaviours that only serve to keep more people under the thumb of the criminal justice system.”
US President Donald Trump, however, is firmly against defunding police. US Presidential Candidate Joe Biden also said that he isn’t specifically supportive of it.
“I support conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honourableness. And, in fact, are able to demonstrate they can protect the community and everybody in the community,” Biden told CBS.
.@NorahODonnell: “Do you support defunding the police?”
Former VP Joe Biden: “No, I don't support defunding the police. I support conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness.”https://t.co/TvsHluVVSW pic.twitter.com/AuJiPyheX6
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) June 8, 2020
The situation, especially in the US is such that no contradicting opinion can be expressed against the civil unrest.
New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet resigned from his position after the opinion section published a much-criticized Op-Ed by US Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, calling for a military response to civic unrest in American cities.
The opinion piece was titled “Send In The Troops.”
“One thing above all else will restore order to our streets: an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers,” he wrote.
Bennet apologized for the Op-Ed, saying that it should not have been published and that it had not been edited carefully enough.
“Last week we saw a significant breakdown in our editing processes, not the first we’ve experienced in recent years,” said A. G. Sulzberger, the publisher, in a note to the staff on June 7th.
Sulzberger added: “Both of us concluded that James would not be able to lead the team through the next leg of change that is required.”
Naturally, change is necessary, and the opinion in the senator’s piece was probably too harsh, however, shouldn’t all sides of an argument be heard?
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Violence Subsides As Protests Continue Throughout U.S.
- Military Pilot Grounded After Low-Flying Helicopter Maneuvers Over D.C. Protests