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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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As the concept of defunding police gets play in the national conversation as part of the police reform needed in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, the issue is not just about taking dollars away from police departments, but rebalancing funding among a number of community needs which today are often starved for funding, according to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
“Defunding police” has become a concept for reform to respond to police violence which has come to the fore with the ongoing nationwide protests which have sprung up after the May 25 murder of the African American Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
“Well, one question that is interesting here is that when it comes to funds, it’s not always just about the number of officers in the street, it’s about these precincts that have tanks and military weaponry and frankly have a degree of material resources and war-like weaponry that people ask why does a local police precinct have this in the first place?” said Ocasio-Cortez, a prominent advocate for the progressives in the Democratic Party. “So when we talk about defunding it can show up in multiple ways. Additionally the other way that we talk about, you know, in this is that when people ask for health care, when they ask for housing, when they ask for education, people always say how are you going to pay for it?
“And so what this movement is doing first and foremost it’s important to note that this is directed at city councils and mayors, and so you should look to see if your city is having this conversation,” she added. “And the other question here too is I think it’s a valid question for people to ask, ‘What should be our Number One budget priority at all? Does any agency deserve to be funded more than almost all the others for health care, housing and youth combined.”
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