Democrat Ayanna Pressley: ‘I Support Radical Reimagining Of’ Policing, ‘Not Further Investing’ In ‘Carceral’ System

Democrat Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA) told CNN on Wednesday that she essentially supports defunding the police as crime rates skyrocket across the U.S. under the leadership of President Joe Biden (D).

CNN’s Don Lemon repeatedly gave Pressley the opportunity to state that she did not support defunding the police, which could be a serious problem for Democrats ahead of the 2022 elections.

“Is defunding the police not part of something that you support?” Lemon asked.

“Don, what I support and why I put forward bills like my Counseling Not Criminalization Act is that instead of our spending $1 billion over the last two decades to have 46,000 school police officers when every child does not have equitable access to a school nurse, a social worker or a guidance counselor, some of those ratios are one counselor for every 2,000 students,” Pressley responded. “So, yes, I support a radical reimagining of community safety and public safety, which means reallocating and not further investing in a carceral state especially when we have not yet ended qualified immunity. So, you know, that needs to be the priority is, police accountability.”

Lemon immediately changed the subject after Pressley’s answer.

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Joining me now is Democratic Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. Representative, thank you so much for your time. I know that you’re very busy right now. I want to talk about this new report that shows dozens of cities and counties are seeing an increase in homicides and aggravated assaults this year. But you support defunding the police. Is that the right message for where we are right now?

REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY (D-MA): You know, Don, what I support is our making investments in communities that have historically been under investment — underinvested in — divested from forcing people to struggle to meet their most basic needs, and oftentimes that behavior just to survive is criminalized, and that’s everything from poverty to homelessness to substance use disorder to mental health. And so, you know, what I support is an investment in community. I think if we do that robustly in a targeted way, particularly to those communities that historically been under resourced, that supports the health of community and the stabilization of families, and in turn, that supports public safety.

LEMON: Listen, I don’t want to put words in your mouth or mischaracterize what you support. So, you don’t support defunding the police. You support what you’re saying right now is defunding the police not part of something that you support?

PRESSLEY: Don, what I support and why I put forward bills like my Counseling Not Criminalization Act is that instead of our spending $1 billion over the last two decades to have 46,000 school police officers when every child does not have equitable access to a school nurse, a social worker or a guidance counselor, some of those ratios are one counselor for every 2,000 students.

So, yes, I support a radical reimagining of community safety and public safety, which means reallocating —

LEMON: Mm-hmm.

PRESSLEY: — and not further investing in a carceral state —

LEMON: All right.

[23:40:00]

PRESSLEY: — respectfully (ph), Don, when we have not yet ended qualified immunity.

LEMON: Yeah.

PRESSLEY: So, you know, that needs to be the priority is, police accountability.

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