Television and film mogul Tyler Perry came out strongly against calls to defund police agencies and actually called for more police officers during an interview with CNN on Wednesday.
Perry, who is black, was asked by CNN host Anderson Cooper if he was “optimistic, now, in a way that you haven’t been before when you see the protests taking place” among “people of all colors” against perceived systemic bias in the criminal justice system.
“I was very optimistic,” said Perry, who also indicated that he does believe so-called systemic bias exists. “I became optimistic when I saw so many people get it.”
“So, when they saw George Floyd’s death, this horrific, horrible death played out as this man pleaded for his life and begged, said ‘please’ many, many times, it — seeing it changes everything,” he told CNN.
— CNN (@CNN) July 30, 2020
“So, I became very, very optimistic when everybody galvanized together because I know that’s when change comes. When people galvanize and come together as one, that’s when change happens.
“But, lately, I’ve been very, very concerned that the message is being hijacked by some other groups or political ads and parties that are trying to stop the message of what we’re asking for here is police reform, right?”
Cooper later asked Perry what he thought of the “defund police” movement.
“Well, when I first heard it, I was troubled by it, I thought OK, this is — this is going to be weaponized by — in this political year. I completely thought that that was happening. That’s exactly what’s happened. It’s been weaponized,” he said.
While Perry did call for reform, he said he believes “more police” are needed.
“But I did some research. And what I would challenge people to do is do research and find out what it means,” he said.
“Now, you’ve got to understand this — I’m not for taking money from the police department. I think we need more police. My studio is in a neighborhood where I think we need police,” Perry added.
Perry said the country doesn’t need police officers who are “under-trained.”
“I have really close friends who are police officers that I love dearly, who are really good people, who have been very, very hurt by this, as well,” he said.
“I think we need the police, I know that I need the police,” he said. “We need them, but we need them reformed, we need them trained well. We need the right structure.”
“Taking money from the police department to make the police department smaller, that troubles me,” the media mogul concluded.
“This is about trying to bridge unity in a city that adopted me and held me up high enough to reach my own branch on the tree of success,” Perry said at the time.
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