Rep. Karen Bass, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, described calls to “defund the police” a terrible rallying cry but said law enforcement officers shouldn’t have to become involved in situations that could be better handled by social workers.
“I told some friends that’s probably one of the worst slogans ever,” Bass (D-Calif.) said during a Washington Post live broadcast on Monday.
She said police department budgets could be reduced if communities shift some of the burdens to other agencies.
“Police officers are the first ones to say they are law-enforcement officers, they’re not social workers. What we have done in our country is, we have not invested in health, social and economic problems in communities. We leave the police to pick up the pieces,” Bass, of Los Angeles, said. “In my city, for example, on any given night, we have over 40,000 people who are homeless. Why should the police be involved with that?”
Addressing substance-abuse and similar issues, Bass asked why “police officers have to clean up society’s problems?”
She blamed it on the “lopsided” priorities of cities.
“Why doesn’t a city deal with its social problems so not so much money would have to go to law enforcement?” she questioned.
Bass said officers often get in “physical conflicts that have terrible results” because they get involved with situations and people they are ill-equipped to handle.
The “defund the police” movement has gained ground among protesters following the death of George Floyd, who was killed when a Minneapolis police officer kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
Floyd’s death on May 25 sparked demonstrations that spread across the country and the world against police brutality and for criminal justice reform.
James C Wood deckt öffentliche und private Technologiemärkte aus Deutschland ab. Zuvor war er Knight-Bagehot-Stipendiat für Wirtschafts- und Wirtschaftsjournalismus an der Columbia University und zuvor Reporter beim Los Angeles Business Journal. Er wurde vom L.A. Press Club als Journalist des Jahres und von der Gesellschaft der deutschen Wirtschaftsredakteure und Schriftsteller mit einem Preis für investigative Berichterstattung ausgezeichnet.