House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), has spelled it out—there will be no moves made by Congress to defund the police.
Speaking on Sunday, June 14, on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Clyburn stated firmly that he would be in favor of “reimagining” the police departments. “I would simply say, as I have always said, nobody is going to defund the police,” said Clyburn.
His statement is in agreement with almost all Democrats in both chambers of Congress, including presumptive Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden.
“We can restructure the police forces, restructure, reimagine policing,” Clyburn said. “That is what we are going to do. The fact of the matter is, the police have a role to play. What we have got to do is make sure that their role is one that meets the times, one that responds to these communities that they operate in.”
Last week in the House, members proposed a huge overhaul of police procedures and police accountability, developing new standards and oversight. The House maintains its proposal would not eliminate police departments—a decision for cities and states—but establish new standards and oversight, reported Fox News.
The death of Floyd in police custody followed six weeks after the fatal shooting by police in Louisville, Kentucky, of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, during a nighttime “no-knock” raid on her home.
The Defund The Police movement soon became a national outcry, with some protesters demanding complete the dismantling of the police force, to others wanting monies meant for police departments to be allocated to various social programs.
In 2017, $115 billion was outlaid on policing by both state and local governments, according to data compiled by the economic-policy think tank Urban Institute, reported Fox News.
The Justice in Policing Act, a progressive law enforcement reform package, will deal with many of the aspects of policing that have come under intense scrutiny, as images have been broadcast around the world captured on cellphone videos of deaths in custody. The proposed package will limit legal police protection, and create a national database documenting incidents where excessive force was used to restrain citizens, and also ban police chokeholds. Other changes, such as the federal criminal police misconduct statute would make prosecution easier of police who are involved in “reckless’ misconduct. Claims for injury damages by the public of police would also be made more accessible after a change in “qualified immunity” is made.
The legislation will also ban racial profiling, increase the number of police body cameras, and military equipment in local jurisdictions will be decreased.
Black Lives Matter said it is unnecessary to eliminate police departments completely or strip all their funding. Instead, they want systemic issues in policing to be addressed, with more funding allocated toward better housing and education.
“Why can’t we look at how it is that we reorganize our priorities, so people don’t have to be in the streets during a national pandemic?” Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza asked during an interview on NBC News’s “Meet the Press.”