Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign rejected calls to defund or abolish police forces in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody and Black Lives Matter protests.
A campaign spokesperson for Biden stated on Monday that the presumptive Democratic nominee “does not believe that police should be defunded,” but he instead called for “reform.”
Biden’s statement called for “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.” Meanwhile, the former vice president said he also supports funding for “community policing programs,” “diversifying police departments,” and body cameras.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also avoided supporting calls to abolish or defund police forces on Monday.
Pelosi, for her part, told reporters in a news conference that funding to other community-centered programs are a “local decision,” adding that it “doesn’t mean we’re going to pile more money on to further militarize police.”
Her remarks came after Democrats in the House unveiled their Justice in Policing Act on Monday, which is filled with reforms that would affect police departments around the country. It doesn’t include defunding police.
She said Floyd’s death provided some Americans with “a moment of national anguish as we grieve for the black Americans killed by police brutality today.” Adding further: “This moment of national anguish is being transformed into a movement of national action as Americans from across the country peacefully protest to demand an end to injustice.”
The measure was crafted by Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
In the wake of calls to defund, President Donald Trump made it a focus of his reelection strategy, portraying himself as the “law and order” candidate after riots, vandalism, attacks on officers, and arson incidents erupted in several cities earlier this month. He has accused the Democrats of embracing chaos and anarchy during the protests.
“LAW & ORDER, NOT DEFUND AND ABOLISH THE POLICE. The Radical Left Democrats have gone Crazy!” Trump wrote on Monday, echoing previous statements.
“Until Americans hear from Joe Biden himself, they have no way of knowing where he really stands,” Trump 2020 Communications Director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement to news outlets on Monday.
Several cities–including New York, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis–are considering dismantling or diverting funds from their police departments to youth and social services.
“Policing matters for sure, but the investments in our youth are foundational,” Mayor Bill De Blasio told reporters Sunday. “We will be moving funding from the NYPD to youth initiatives and social services.”