Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden said Wednesday that some funding should be redirected from police departments as some activists and Democrats have called to "defund the police" in the wake of protests and riots across the United States in recent weeks.
Biden, 77, was asked by an activist about whether some police funding needs to be redirected.
“But do we agree that we can redirect some of the [police] funding?” Ady Barkan, the activist, asked Biden.
Going further, Biden said police departments do not need surplus military equipment, claiming that it leads them to “become the enemy” in a community.
Specifically, he also called for the ending of no-knock warrants and improving transparency in departments.
"This whole idea of no-knock warrants in drug cases is bizarre, it just invites trouble," Biden said. "There's a fundamental need for transparency and access to police records when they have misconduct charges against them.
Following calls to abolish or defund the police last month, Biden's campaign and other top Democrats in Congress said departments shouldn't be defunded. Numerous Black Lives Matter activists have chanted the slogan or spray-painted it on buildings and monuments in cities across the country.
“As his criminal justice proposal made clear months ago, Vice President Biden does not believe that police should be defunded,” Biden campaign Rapid Response Director Andrew Bates said several weeks ago. “He hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change, and is driven to ensure that justice is done and that we put a stop to this terrible pain.”
He said that Biden supports the "urgent need for reform," including more redirecting policing funds to public schools, mental health and drug abuse treatment programs, and summer programs.
“I'd like to thank Donald Trump - for hiring an illiterate comms staff. Biden is running on *more* COPS funding for community policing,” Bates, Biden’s director of rapid response, shot back. “The same sentiment you're taking out of context RE: local budgets is *in* the articles about him opposing defunding.”
Last month, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that encourages police departments to improve training, more certification and credential requirements for officers, information sharing on officials who have been subject to excessive use of force complaints, and co-responder programs that will send health professionals alongside officers in certain situations.
“I strongly oppose” the “radical” effort to dismantle and disband police forces, Trump said at the time, while noting that crime levels are at historic lows across the United States.