NBA legend Charles Barkley is all in favor of police reform but slams the idea of defunding police, after protests erupted across America following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died at the hands of a white police officer while in police custody on May 25.
Speaking to CNN on Tuesday, June 10, Barkley said, “We need the cops, most of the cops do a fantastic job, but instead of defunding and all this other stuff, let’s just do police reform. Everybody should be on board for that whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, conservative or liberal,” reported Fox News.
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, criticism has been aimed at police, with calls to “defund police,” but Barkley feels reform is a sensible approach. Everyone should feel outraged at the death of Floyd, but not because he is black, rather because it is not the way humans should be treated, regardless of race or color.
“This is not black or white, this is just about humanity,” Barkley said. “To see a grown man die before our eyes. If you’re not upset by that if you’re white, Jewish, Chinese, anything, there is something wrong with you.”
Politicians need to unite to instigate change, something Barkley said is not happening.
“The Democrats and the Republicans can’t even talk about police reform,” he said. “That’s the number one thing they should do before they do anything else. That’s something we have been talking about since [former NFL quarterback Colin] Kaepernick kneeled, and these clowns in the Democratic Party and Republican Party, that’s the number one thing they should do before they do anything else,’ Barkley said.
Minneapolis City Council announced on June 7 it would disband the Minneapolis Police Department entirely, and begin afresh with a community-led public safety system, although it is not clear how they intend to do that.
“Our commitment is to do what’s necessary to keep every single member of our community safe and to tell the truth: that the Minneapolis Police are not doing that,” City Council President Lisa Bender said at a rally. “Our commitment is to end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department, to end policing as we know it, and to recreate systems of public safety that actually keep us safe.”
The council secured a veto-proof majority without the support of the Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who doesn’t support the move.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) has a sponsored a Defund Police petition on its website and is foremost in pushing for defunding. Managing director of BLM, Kailee Scales, said on June 8 on Reddit, “The call for defunding the police force is based on simple facts.”
“Modern-day policing institutions have their roots in slave-catching. These systems were created to hunt, maim, and kill Black people—and are the result of centuries-old anti-Black attitudes codified into law,” she wrote.