The Rev. Al Sharpton on Tuesday threw shade at the movement to take funding away from the police.
During an interview on NBC’s “Morning Joe,” Sharpton was asked about how police funding reductions would impact heavily minority neighborhoods. A video of part of the interview was posted online by the Washington Examiner.
“To take all policing off is something that I think a latte liberal may go for as they sit around the Hamptons discussing this as some academic problem,” he said.
“But people living on the ground need proper policing. Yes, we need more resources in different areas like mental health, but we do not need our grandmothers prey to those that are being the users of products of the big gun manufacturers in this country,” Sharpton said, as he sought to shift blame for gun violence away from residents of high-crime neighborhoods.
Sharpton said that while he opposes defunding the police, he thinks changes should be made.
“We need to reimagine how we do policing,” Sharpton said.
Sharpton last month had said the “defund the police” movement was a misnomer for what was needed.
“You do not remove police,” he said in an August MSNBC interview. “You put the resources into things that will lead to better policing.”
Underlining that we must keep our communities safe from bad cops AND bad citizens!
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) August 12, 2020
The comments make Sharpton sound like those of many Republicans.
“I haven’t spoken to any voter who thinks that defunding or abolishing the police is a rational idea,” said Will Douglas, a biracial Republican from Dallas seeking the 113th Texas State House District seat, in a June interview with The Hill.
“I do believe that there needs to be reform around procedures and how confrontation is handled,” he added. “It’s something that I think both sides can agree on, but unfortunately those on one side of the aisle want to take money away from them.”
Shay Hawkins, a black Republican seeking the 6th State House District in Ohio, said police have not failed, but politicians have.
“Politicians have failed and now their solution is to basically blame a group of employees [police], 99.9 percent of which are probably not bad actors,” Hawkins said. “This is their primary job, keeping their citizens safe.”
Austin Chambers, the president of the Republican State Leadership Committee, said Democrats who run under the banner of defunding the police will find they have made a mistake.
“It’s going to boil down to simply, do you want to fund the police department, and you want real leadership and you want to heal the divide in this country, or do you want to defund your police department and have lawlessness and chaos in this country,” he said.
“This is going to create a huge divide on their side,” Chambers continued. “It’s going to create a great opportunity for Republicans to bring back the suburbs, win these key seats in the states we gotta win, and I think it’s going to benefit the president as well.”
81% of Black Americans don’t want to Defund the Police.
This movement is being pushed by people who don’t live in dangerous areas and by politicians with their own security.
If Americans want Police Reform and better trained officers, we should actually increase funding pic.twitter.com/neS8sGAucR
— Kimberly Klacik (@kimKBaltimore) September 5, 2020
Republican congressional candidate Kim Klacik, seeking a House seat in Baltimore, has argued the answer is finding the balance that works for both sides.
“You know, we got to be able to hold police officers accountable because there are bad cops,” she said in an interview on the “Fox News Rundown” podcast. “There are not just good cops, and we have to understand that that does exist.
“But I will be talking to police officers,” she went on. “It seems like we never hear their side of the story. You know, we hear from Black Lives Matter. We hear from the media. But what are the police saying? You know, when do the police get the microphone?”
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