Poorer communities should undergo a “dramatic reduction” in police as an alternative to mass incarceration, Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., argued on Thursday.
According to Fox News, Bowman, a new member of the progressive “Squad,” made those comments on CNN when anchor Dana Bash had asked him whether “defund the police” was “bad messaging.”
“Defund the police does not mean abolish the police,” Bowman said. “It means a dramatic reduction in the number of police in our poor communities and particularly our poor Black and Brown communities.”
“Historically, when our communities have needed jobs, they didn’t bring us jobs, they brought us police and they created a system of mass incarceration,” he added. “And we live in a country where if you’re Black or Brown, you’re more likely to be killed by police, and more likely to be incarcerated, and more likely to not afford bail.”
Only 5% of policing is focused on violent crime. The other 95% can be handled by other agencies. In some cities, 40% of the entire budget goes toward policing.
We have to do something different and not allow Republicans to flip a talking point on its head. pic.twitter.com/Mr9sSOp0wF
— Jamaal Bowman (@JamaalBowmanNY) December 3, 2020
“So, we’re focusing on this slogan – ‘defund the police’ – but where are the resources to bring jobs into our communities? Where are the resources to fully fund our public schools? Where are the resources to deal with the issue of housing and food insecurity? We’re not talking about any of that. We’re worried about a slogan.”
Bowman’s comments come as urban neighborhoods face an unprecedented level of violent crime.
While some democrats have joined the “defund the police” movement, others are warning that the rhetoric will hurt them politically, citing unexpected losses in Congress last month.
On Wednesday, former President Barack Obama had cautioned against using “snappy” slogans like “defund the police.”
“You lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you’re actually going to get the changes you want done,” he said.
Gallup reported in August that 61% of Black Americans favored police continuing to spend the same amount of time as they already were in their communities.