According to Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass (D-CA), the radical “Defund the Police” movement has a serious branding problem. The slogan isn’t just bad, it’s “probably one of the worst slogans ever,” says the California representative.
During an interview with The Washington Post on Monday, the Los Angeles-based congresswoman gave a brutally honest assessment of the growing movement on the Left to defund the police, which she has already stated flatly that she rejects.
As highlighted by The New York Post, asked what exactly the slogan “Defund the Police” means, Rep. Bass replied, “I told some friends that’s probably one of the worst slogans ever.”
Though she hates the slogan and rejects the movement in its more radical form, Bass attempted to argue for a more moderate version of the calls to “abolish” law enforcement as we know it. Part of the problem, Bass suggested, is that police are now asked to do some things that social workers are better equipped to handle.
“Police officers are the first ones to say they are law enforcement officers, they’re not social workers,” she said. “What we have done in our country is, we have not invested in health, social and economic problems in communities. We leave the police to pick up the pieces.”
Pointing to her own city, Los Angeles, which has become plagued by rampant homelessness, Bass noted that “on any given night,” some 40,000 or so homeless people are inhabiting the city. Police, she said, should not have to deal with that or generally be asked to “clean up society’s problems.” The answer, she maintained, is reprioritizing spending, directing some of the money currently going to law enforcement to social services and other resources to address these issues.
Asked earlier in the interview how the Rayshard Brooks case fits into the left’s police brutality protests, Bass pointed out that the Brooks case appears to be different than the Floyd case because Brooks “clearly engaged in a fight” with officers and appeared to point the taser he had wrestled from one of the officers at police.
“I mean the big difference is that [Brooks] clearly engaged in a fight and then he ran and he turned around and — at least it looks as though he turned around with his taser,” said the congresswoman.
Bass then added some “Defund the Police”-themed questions.
“But the question here is why were the police involved at all? I mean what he had done is he had fallen asleep in a take-out line. Why did they call the police on him?” she asked, suggesting that a DUI situation in which a man passes out behind the wheel of a vehicle in a drive-thru should not involve law enforcement.
“And when they called the police on him, why did it escalate the point of them engaging in a fight?” she added.
As body-cam video released by authorities shows (below), the reason the initially calm situation “escalated” — as Bass herself acknowledged previously — was that Brooks began to grapple with police when they calmly attempted to handcuff him for driving while under the influence, an act that endangered both Brooks’ life and others’ lives.
In the tussle, during which police repeatedly asked Brooks to “stop fighting” and warned him that he would be tased, Brooks grabbed one of the officer’s tasers. After being tased by an officer, Brooks turned and appeared to aim the taser he had obtained at the pursuing officer. It was at this point that the officer shot him.
Rep. Bass’s interview with the Post below followed by body-cam and surveillance footage of the Brooks shooting (warning: graphic content):
Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass joins The Post to discuss reforms to curb police brutality, end racial profiling, and eliminate qualified immunity with the Justice in Policing Act. https://t.co/vSOF4xJUcQ
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 15, 2020
Watch the footage yourself… https://t.co/1H6fsnLjpL
— Lisa Boothe (@LisaMarieBoothe) June 14, 2020
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