“I think we should ultimately abolish [law enforcement],” Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors said in a recent interview. “What we can do right now is drastically reduce law enforcement’s relationship to the community.”
As the calls from left-wing activists to “defund the police” have grown in the two weeks since the death of George Floyd, so, too, have the explainers from the MSM on how “defunding the police” is supposedly not about getting rid of police departments altogether but instead is about partially shifting some police funding into local communities.
Axios, for instance, mischaracterized an interview Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza did with Chuck Todd a week ago as saying she told him that defunding the police really wasn’t about eliminating police departments:
Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that growing calls to “defund the police” are not about eliminating police departments, but about reinvesting funds toward “the resources that our communities need.”
Except if you watch the clip, you’ll see that not only was Axios’s characterization of what she said incorrect, but that when Todd brought the issue up to Garza, he never actually asked about defunding the police. What he did was make it sound like it wasn’t even a question, teeing up Garza to affirm his statement that BLM “was not calling for defunding police departments and getting rid of police.”
The transcript of what Todd said is below:
When you — when Americans hear the phrase, “defund the police,” you’re not calling for defunding police departments and getting rid of police. Explain what you mean by that phrase.
Watch the video below of Todd’s softball to Garza and her lengthy response. Note that she never once stated defunding the police was not about getting rid of them:
“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
That was one of those interviews where what a person does not say is more revealing than what they did say.
Unfortunately for Todd, another Black Lives Matter co-founder who did a recent interview was not quite so careful in her comments. Patrisse Cullors, another co-founder of the radical group, told Newsweek that ultimately defunding the police was about abolishing them, but for now the movement was focused on the incremental steps to getting there, which was by way of gradually taking funds away from police departments and moving them elsewhere (emphasis added):
While, ultimately, Cullors said she believes that law enforcement as we know it today should be abolished entirely, she acknowledged that the road to abolition could be a long one—that is why, she said, it needs to be taken step by step.
The first step, she said, would be significantly reducing funding to law enforcement bodies and redirecting that money into initiatives directly serving communities, including education, healthcare and community programming.
“We don’t disband law enforcement in just one day. That’s not logical,” she said.
“I think we should ultimately abolish [law enforcement],” Cullors said. “What we can do right now is drastically reduce law enforcement’s relationship to the community.”
“Policing and incarceration are part of a continuum. The policing is the first response and then incarceration is the last response. And these two systems rely on each other very, very deeply. We have to be working on getting rid of both systems,” she said.
On Friday, the New York Times published an op-ed written by “anti-criminalization organizer” Mariame Kaba that put a finer point on the supposed debate over what “defund the police” actually means. The headline and sub-headline? Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police – Because reform won’t happen:
Running this column puts lives in danger. pic.twitter.com/SkESdnYpX2
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) June 13, 2020
The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah hosted a roundtable discussion on defunding the police in which several of the participants made it quite clear what they thought about the police and how police departments needed to be abolished (emphasis added):
“We say ‘abolish the police’ because we mean ‘abolish the police,’” writer Mychal Denzel Smith added. “Tell me something right now that the police are good at, other than whooping ass. Other than doing that, what are they good at? They don’t prevent murders, they come in and try to figure out who did the murder afterward. And they don’t do any of the things they’re sent out to do –—like Patrisse is telling us, we want them to ‘solve’ homelessness, but what that just means [for them] is get the homeless people out of the street.”
Journalist and lawyer Josie Duffy Rice noted: “One of the things people say when you want to defund the police is, ‘But what about murder? What about rape? What if your kid got kidnapped?’…The reality is that the police aren’t doing a very good job of handling those situations and that when we picture accountability in this country, we’re relying on a violent system to reduce violence. We’re relying on a cruel system to reduce cruelty. And we are funding the back end of social ills instead of the front end of addressing them. It’s very hard to imagine a world where we’re defunding the police because it’s all we’ve had to rely on. We’re imagining a new world.”
“We need to completely dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department. Because here’s the thing, there’s a cancer,” [Omar] said, continuing that amputation is needed so it doesn’t spread.
The Minneapolis Police Department has proven themselves beyond reform.
It’s time to disband them and reimagine public safety in Minneapolis.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 5, 2020
The evidence is overwhelming that defunding the police is not simply about partial reallocation of police funding. Advocates for “defunding the police” eventually want to see a world where police departments don’t exist and CHAZ-style Lord of the Flies-type communities are put in place.
But that hasn’t stopped media figures like MSNBC’s resident race hustler Al Sharpton from trying to gaslight Americans as to what it means:
“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.
Except “the far extremes” are Black Lives Matters founders themselves and their prominent supporters like Omar who are out front and center giving media interviews and leading the charge to defund the police incrementally over time to the point they stop being funded altogether.
When a movement’s founders and their advocates in Congress and on city councils tell you that the police need to be “defunded” and “abolished” and “dismantled,” believe them. They actually mean defunding and abolishing and dismantling. Do not be fooled by their media apologists into thinking otherwise.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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