‘It’s gonna be a fight’: Defund the police agitators warn Biden they’re ‘not going away’
It’s becoming obvious that even if Joe Biden becomes president, his “defund the police” headache won’t be going away anytime soon. Supporters of the movement are stating as much… they are claiming that they are “not going away” just because Joe Biden will be the next president.
“What we’ve heard so far from the Democratic Party is what they’re not going to do,” “Defund the police” advocate Andrea Ritchie stated in an interview with Mother Jones. “I don’t expect they will be supportive of the main demand from the streets … It’s gonna be a fight. We’re not going away.”
Biden has previously embraced calls for police reform including a ban on chokeholds and the creation of a national police oversight commission. But he has not endorsed the “defund the police” movement. The term covers everything from reducing police budgets to abolishing law enforcement completely. Biden instead pushed for $300 million in additional police funding, mainly for improved training.
“The vast majority of police officers are good, decent, honorable men and women,” Biden said during the first presidential debate in September. “They risk their lives every day to take care of us, but there are some bad apples.”
Biden has exhibited support for law enforcement during his tenure in the Senate. He was the primary author of the 1994 Crime Bill that added 100,000 cops to the streets and he was the “go-to” politician for police advocates at the time.
Biden was also harsh on violent criminals, calling them predators in open forums when discussing the need for additional law enforcement resources and prisons.
“I’m very pessimistic about what we can expect, at least initially, from the Biden administration,” said Alex Vitale, a professor and author of a book about police abolition. “He’s made it very clear that he wants to put more resources into policing, that he supports the kind of superficial and ineffective procedural reforms that the Obama administration proposed.”
The movement is strongly tied to the Black Lives Matter group and its affiliates.
Protesters are vowing to keep up their efforts to reduce municipal police budgets and are telling Biden to expect to feel pressure throughout his presidency.
“The demand is still to defund the police,” Ritchie said. “And it’s gonna get louder and louder. And I don’t know that we even need to be the inside. They’re gonna hear it either way.”
After George Floyd’s death in May while in Minneapolis police custody, Black Lives Matter supporters and lawmakers such as Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) embraced the defund movement. Two other “Squad” members, Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) introduced a bill to defund police on July 7, calling it a “new vision of public safety.”
Voters did not like the bill at all and thus it was incredibly unpopular. A strong majority of voters opposed cutting police budgets in July, and its association with the Democratic Party proved harmful on Election Day costing them numerous seats in the House of Representatives.
House Democrats had expected to expand their majority but were shocked when it drastically shrank after the 2020 election. Some blamed their poor showing on the defund movement. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) called it left-wing “foolishness” that hurt more moderate members, and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) said it “hurt a lot of our candidates.”