House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn says don’t worry, if Congress has its way, no one will be defunding the police any time soon.
Clyburn, South Carolina Democrat and the third-ranking lawmaker in the House, told CNN host Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” on Sunday that the “Defund the Police” movement, which has been gaining steam in some urban centers, will not succeed.
“Nobody is going to defund the police,” Clyburn said, whose congressional district includes most of the majority-black precincts in and around Columbia and Charleston.
But Clyburn said something has got to change.
“I didn’t grow up in fear of police, even in a segregated environment. We never feared the police. But, all of a sudden now, I do fear the police,” he said. “The fact of the matter is, this is a structure that has been developed that we have got to deconstruct. So, I wouldn’t say defund. Deconstruct our policing.”
Clyburn, a leader in the Congressional Black Caucus, said municipalities must “restructure” and “re-imagine” policing.
“We can restructure the police forces, restructure, re-imagine policing. That is what we are going to do. The fact of the matter is, the police have a role to play,” Clyburn said. “What we have got to do is make sure that their role is one that meets the times, one that responds to these communities that they operate in.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and other liberal Democrats support a movement to defund — and even abolish — police departments. They claim that police departments have systematic racism and that previous attempts to reform them have proved futile.
Political leaders in Minneapolis, almost all Democrats, have already moved to defund the city’s police department. On Friday, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously voted to replace its police department with a new “community policing” system for public safety. Meanwhile, police officers in the city are leaving the job in droves, convinced that political leaders no longer have their backs.
President Trump has been teeing off on the “defund the police” slogan. “However, top Democrats, including presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), quickly distanced themselves from the phrase,” The Hill reported.
“The slogan may be misleading without interpretation,” Rev. Al Sharpton said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this past week, adding that he understood the phrase to be more about deep-rooted reform efforts. “I don’t think anyone other than the far extremes are saying we don’t want any kind of policing at all,” he said.
But the need to explain the meaning behind the wording comes with its own set of critics. “If you’re explaining, you’re losing, and there’s a lot of explaining going on,” Meghan McCain, a right-leaning commentator said on ABC’s “The View.” “If you mean reform, say reform. If you mean defund, say defund. People are confused,” she added.
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