In the two weeks following the death of George Floyd after a Minneapolis police officer put his knee on his neck for almost nine minutes, many people protested systemic racial injustice and police brutality at across the country called for “funding the police” as a possible solution.
But critics such as Fox News host Tucker Carlson reacted with concern, saying that cutting police budgets across the country would mean “thugs are in charge.” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that “the president is dismayed by the movement to” dismantle the police “. And his alleged Democratic rival for the Oval Office also “Don’t believe the police should be funded”, according to a statement released by Biden’s director of communications. The president also tweeted against the idea on Monday, adding, “The radical left Democrats have gone mad! ” And there seems to be a lot of confusion as to the purpose of the levies on local law enforcement. “Fund the police. No more cops. That’s what they are fighting for, “said Carlson on the show.
John Oliver therefore devoted the entirety of his Sunday evening episode of “Last Week Tonight” on HBO
to speak to the police, noting that disturbing images of police brutality, and incidents of peaceful protests turning into violence, are only “the tip of a very big iceberg.”
He continued, “It didn’t start this week, nor with this president, and still falls disproportionately on black communities. And Oliver answered three key questions: how it got to this point; what were the obstacles to reform; and what to do in the future.
“Meanwhile, as we continue to increase funding and empower the police, we are simultaneously cutting spending on key social services.”
He described the history of law enforcement by law enforcement “explicitly designed to subjugate blacks,” starting with the capture of escaped slaves, as well as the Jim Crow laws that imposed segregation after the emancipation, leading to the war on drugs, with “broken windows” “Stop-and-frisk” policies that disproportionately targeted people of color. Oliver also noted that Democrats, including former President Bill Clinton – whose 1993 new plan for cops used federal money to pay 100,000 new police – were involved in this.
“Meanwhile, as we continue to increase funding and empower the police, we are simultaneously cutting spending on key social services,” said Oliver. “It meant that in many communities, the police were the only one left to handle almost all of people’s problems, which is a real problem … we are asking the police to do too much.”
Oliver argued that taking money out of a police service budget and using it to create more affordable housing or to fund mental health services would create a better community safety net to respond to such situations. than a person with a mental health crisis in public. , rather than an armed officer. The police could then focus on more serious crimes.
“The concept is that the role of the police can then diminish considerably because they do not respond to homeless people, mental health calls, or arrest children in schools, or really any other situation where the best solution does not exist.” is not to show up with a gun, “said Oliver. “This is the idea behind” police funding “, if you listen to it. “
“Police funding absolutely does not mean that we eliminate all the cops and simply succumb to ‘The Purge’. Rather, it is about moving away from a narrow conception of public safety that relies on police and punishment, and investing in the real safety net of a community. . Things like stable housing, mental health services and community organizations. “
He also dispelled the idea that these episodes of police brutality were a matter of “a few bad actors,” stating, “These are clearly not individual officers. It is a structure based on systemic racism that this country intentionally created, and which must now be intentionally dismantled and replaced by one that takes into account the needs of the people it actually serves. “
His argument went viral on Twitter
night from Sunday to Monday.
“Black communities must have been perpetual activists while regularly being denied their rights, and it is high time that we all stay together to make sure their voices are heard and put into practice,” he added. “Because it’s going to be way too easy for nothing to really change here. This is what has always happened before. “
Watch it here. The police dismantling segment begins approximately 25 minutes later.
Regarding the presidential candidates’ responses to the question, the White House press secretary said that Trump “was talking about a number of proposals; no announcement on this subject. But he recognizes, as he noted, the terrible injustice done to George Floyd, and takes a look at various proposals. “
Biden spokesperson Andrew Bates issued a statement explaining that if Biden “hears and shares the deep sorrow and frustration of those who are calling for change”, he does not think the police should be funded. He supports reforms such as “funding for public schools, summer programs, mental health and addiction treatment separate from funding for police services – so that officers can focus on the work of police services “