Since the murder of George Floyd on May 25th, 2020, there have been countless demonstrations and protests calling for police reforms, and the demand for justice not only for Mr. Floyd, but for Breonna Taylor and the many other black people that have been beaten or killed (or both.)
One of the rallying cries that has taken the forefront in the media is the defunding of police departments. Unfortunately, the right-wing conservative media has promoted this action to be the demand to eradicate police departments across the United States, leaving a land of lawlessness and anarchy with everyone fending for themselves.
As ridiculous as this sounds to those of us who know what defunding the police actually means, this belief is not only gaining ground on social media, but also on the campaign trail from local politicians all the way to President Trump. Scroll through Facebook or Twitter and it won’t be long before you find a story, meme, or other form of media decrying how the United States is heading for dystopia. And this gross misinformation is being shared in the millions. People are actually worried that there will be no more police if the “communist liberals” get their way.
What does it mean to defund the police?
Over the years police departments have been saddled with addition duties due to budget cuts in other areas. They have been tasked with addressing societal issues like mental illness, poverty, homelessness, etc., that they are poorly equipped to handle even if addressing these things didn’t put a strain on individual officers and entire police departments.
Defunding the police actually means a reduction of budget allocations to police departments and reallocating those monies to areas that have been previously defunded or cut, such as housing, education, public health, mental illness, youth services, and fighting poverty.
Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza told NBC News’ “Meet the Press,
“So much of policing right now is generated and directed towards quality-of-life issues, homelessness, drug addiction, domestic violence. … But what we do need is increased funding for housing, we need increased funding for education, we need increased funding for quality of life of communities who are over-policed and over-surveilled.
“When we talk about defunding the police, what we’re saying is invest in the resources that our communities need,”https://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/meet-press-june-7-2020-n1226966
Maria Cardone writes in The Hill,
“Those who seek real reform should make clear what we are fighting for. Defunding the police does not mean abolishing law enforcement, police officers or policing. That makes no sense.
“Perhaps a better term would be ‘Redefine police.’
“Redefining police means cities must take a whole new look at the way policing is done and how department budgets are determined; it means ensuring that resources go to professional training, community policing, cultural competency training and complete transparency of police officers’ past conduct and records.
“It also means that the policies guiding the departments put a stop to police brutality and abuse, hold police officers accountable for their conduct and ensure that they protect and serve all communities equally.”https://thehill.com/opinion/criminal-justice/502648-what-defund-the-police-actually-means
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Yes, there are radicals amongst the movement to defund the police that actually do call for the complete eradication of law enforcement. They are, however, like flat-earthers. They are few and far between, and literally nobody who is serious about the issue pays much attention to them. The only exposure they get is from the usual suspects.
No doubt we will continue to see the gross misrepresentation by the call to defund the police by the conservative right in the United States. The images, videos, and memes touting roving gangs of minorities terrorizing the general public at will because there will be no law enforcement agencies will still be spread around. The claims that unfettered murder, robbery, assault, rape, and all other manner of violent crime running rampant without the criminals worrying about being held accountable, or even being apprehended will still be posted.
Of course, this will be exacerbated by the also misinformed belief that the Democrats are also going to try to confiscate guns by repealing the second amendment, leading to millions of people living in fear of something that will never happen, given what it takes to repeal a constitutional amendment.
Not hard to find
Information about what it means to defund the police is not hard to find. The understanding that it does not mean the abolishment of law enforcement is not some sort of state secret. The reality is that those who are advocating for the defunding of police departments are actually attempting to balance out the services provided by municipalities to better serve the entirety of the general public, better protect police officers, and have a more fiscally responsible budget. is readily available.
This is not rocket science, folks.