The Joe Biden campaign has announced its opposition to defunding police departments in the wake of widespread George Floyd demonstrations, advocating for reform measures and even additional funding instead.
“As his criminal justice proposal made clear months ago, Vice President Biden does not believe that police should be defunded,” Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement. “Biden supports the urgent need for reform–including funding for public schools, summer programs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment separate from funding for policing–so that officers can focus on the job of policing.”
Bates added, “This also means funding community policing programs to improve relationships between officers and residents.” Biden’s criminal justice plan would earmark an additional $300 million to community policing efforts.
Democrats have faced increasing calls over the past week to dismantle police departments entirely after Floyd, an African American man, was killed during his arrest by white Minneapolis police officers. A majority of Minneapolis City Council members have pledged to dismantle the city’s police department, although they have not released a timetable or detailed proposals for doing so.
On Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) appeared to demure on the question of whether to defund police.
“We want to work with our police departments, there are many who take pride in their work” Pelosi said at a press conference. Pelosi suggested “rebalancing” or moving some funding from police departments to tackle housing and mental health issues.