Which Lawmakers Support Defunding the Police?

Protests over the incident surrounding George Floyd, who died while in police custody in Minneapolis, have shifted from calling out police brutality against the black community to demands for defunding the police.

Ilhan Omar, a Democratic congresswoman from Minnesota who called for the dismantling of the Minneapolis police department, stated in a tweet Sunday that defunding the police means removing funds given from police departments and allocating it to other segments of the community.

"The 'defund the police' movement, is one of reimagining the current police system to build an entity that does not violate us, while relocating funds to invest in community services. Let's be clear, the people who now oppose this, have always opposed calls for systematic change," Omar stated.

The freshman congresswoman joined a protest to defund the police June 6 in Minneapolis, and told a local reporter: "I know none of you fought so hard to get me elected so I can co-sign on a system that continues to oppress us."

Michigan Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib also tweeted out her sentiments for what defunding the police means: "When we say #DefundPolice, what we mean is people are dying and we need to invest in people's livelihoods instead. EXAMPLE: Detroit spent $294 million on police last year, and $9 million on health. This is systemic oppression in numbers." A graphic from the Detroit Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for 2019 was attached to the tweet.

Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York took to Twitter to criticize the New York City police budget: "It truly boggles my mind how anyone can see a $6 billion policing budget in ONE city alone - which is more than we spend on health, youth, housing, and homelessness services here *combined* - and say, "You know what will fix police brutality? More money."

Ocasio-Cortez also stated in an Instagram post that picturing an America with defunded police "doesn't take a ton of imagination."

"It looks like a suburb. Affluent white communities already live in a world where they choose to fund youth, health, housing, etc. more than they fund police. These communities have lower crime rates not because they have more police, but because they have more resources to support a healthy society in a way that reduces crime," Ocasio-Cortez said.

In a private phone call with House Democrats Monday, Ocasio-Cortez urged her colleagues "not to dismiss or mock" those who are calling for defunding the police, according to Politico.

"It is not crazy for black and brown communities to want what white people have already given themselves and that is funding your schools more than you fund criminalizing your own kids," she said.

Some Democrats expressed concerns over defunding law enforcement. California Congresswoman Karen Bass, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, told reporters Monday such calls "can be used as a distraction," though she did support the "intent" behind the messaging.

Congressman Jim Clyburn from South Carolina said on the Monday call that his colleagues should not let themselves "be drawn into the debate about defunding police forces. Additionally, Congresswoman Madeleine Dean from Pennsylvania said the matter of defunding police is "divisive and distracting," according to Politico.

Newsweek reached out to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's office about where House Democrats stand on defunding the police, but did not get a response in time for publication.

 News - George Floyd Protest- New York
MANHATTAN, NY - JUNE 07: A protester holds up a handmade sign that reads, "Defund The Police". (Photo by Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images) Ira L. Black/Corbis/Getty