Protesters have been calling for the government to defund police departments across the nation, but presidential candidate Joe Biden opposes this measure. According to The Hill, Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates recently told reporters, "As his criminal justice proposal made clear months ago, Vice President Biden does not believe that police should be defunded."
Bates added that, while he does not support defunding police, Biden "hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change, and is driven to ensure that justice is done and that we put a stop to this terrible pain." Bates stated that Biden "supports the urgent need for reform," offering examples such as "including funding for public schools and summer programs," so that police officers" can focus on the job of policing." He also listed "mental health and substance abuse treatment separate from funding for policing," as other areas where new funding could be invested.
Conversations about defunding the police ignited following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Floyd was being arrested by four officers, and at one point he fell to the ground. In order to retrain him, three of the officers placed themselves on him, with one placing his knee on Floyd's neck. Floyd cried out that he couldn't breathe, but his cries went unanswered and he eventually became unresponsive. He was later pronounced dead.
Many Democrat politicians. like Biden, have voiced support for police reform, but not many have gone as far as supporting measures to defund police. Notably, the Minneapolis City Council held a vote on disbanding the local police department, and it was met with a majority voting in favor. Instead, the city would replace police a new model of public safety, according to members of the city council. The Hill notes that, on the flip side, Republican politicians argue that Democrats are going too far even with calls for police reform.
Biden's camp even made a jab at President Trump's administration, saying that it has cause any reform to be difficult to achieve. There are many police departments across the country who are seeking to realize these kinds of changes, but haven't had the resources to — and the Trump administration has in fact made obtaining those resources more difficult," Bates said. "This is at the core of Joe Biden's plan to bring transformative change to our criminal justice system." Trump campaign rapid response director Andrew Clark quickly took to Twitter to respond, saying that Biden is "too afraid of the far left to unequivocally say it himself on camera."