The push by Black Lives Matter to defund police is now championed by the national press secretary for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, Brian Fallon.
“Defund the police,” tweeted Fallon, currently the executive director of the non-profit Demand Justice.
The Washington Times observed that the tweet came as a sign that establishment Democrats are shifting rapidly to the left on law-and-order issues amid protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
Government officials long have dismissed the idea of defunding police as a leftist fantasy, noted the Guardian newspaper of London. But the recent unrest and budget shortfalls caused by the coronavirus lockdowns have pushed the arguments supporting the idea toward the mainstream, the paper said.
Some advocates say defunding policy is about reducing funding and shifting it to social services rather than abolishing police departments.
“To see legislators who aren’t even necessarily on the left supporting at least a significant decrease in New York police department [NYPD] funding is really very encouraging,” Julia Salazar, a New York state senator and Democratic socialist, told the Guardian.
“It feels a little bit surreal.”
Dave Abrams, Republican State Leadership Committee deputy executive director, told the Times that Democrats need be clear about their stance on the issue.
“Every single Democrat in the country must answer to whether he or she agrees with this radical idea to rid communities of the women and men in blue who put their lives on the line to keep Americans safe,” Abrams said in an email.
“Silence is part of the problem, isn’t it? Time for Democrats to speak up.”
The Times noted that at least two officers have been killed in the rioting, Federal Protective Service Officer Dave Patrick Underwood and retired St. Louis Capt. David Dorn.
Reacting to Fallon’s tweet, media critic Stephen L. Miller joked that Democrats “finally found a public government cause they want to spend less money on!”
The popular Seymour Sludgeworth account on Twitter pointed out that the “people that say Defund the Police are the same people that want to take away your guns, leaving you and your family to the mercy of the mob.”
“Just let that sink in.”
‘Reducing … resources that harm’
Defending the push for defunding police, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors contended that only “radical shifts” can stop law enforcement violence.
“The demand of defunding law enforcement becomes a central demand in how we actually get real accountability and justice, because it means we are reducing the ability of law enforcement to have resources that harm our communities,” she said in an interview Wednesday with WBUR.
Cullors said she doesn’t take seriously the “disingenuous” act of police officers taking a knee.
“[Police officers] taking a knee is not stopping the deaths of our community members,” she said. “We need transformation. These things don’t happen through police taking a knee at protests and then right after they take a knee, getting up and tear-gassing us and rubber bulleting us and beating us with batons.”