In the wake of George Floyd’s death, a new push to defund police departments has sprung up.
And Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s (D) campaign says the former vice president is not on board with that push.
In a statement on Monday, Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said, “As his criminal justice proposal made clear months ago, Vice President Biden does not believe that police should be defunded.”
“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,” Bates added.
“Biden supports the urgent need for reform — including 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. This also means funding community policing programs that improve relationships between officers and residents, and provides the training that is needed to avert tragic, unjustifiable deaths.”
Read the statement below:
"Biden does not believe that police should be defunded. 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. Biden supports the urgent need for reform…" pic.twitter.com/k0IConBSj3— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) June 8, 2020
Bates’ statement comes shortly after Tim Murtaugh, the Communications Director for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, claimed that Biden supported defunding police departments.
On a call with reporters, Murtaugh said, “As the protesters like to say, silence is agreement. By his silence, Joe Biden is endorsing defunding the police.”
After Floyd, an unarmed black man died after a Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground by placing his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, protests erupted around the country as Americans took to the streets to demand change and police reforms — including stripping departments of funding.
Some activists in Washington, D.C., painted the words “Defund The Police” in yellow letters on a street near the White House and a “Black Lives Matter” mural.
When asked if the city would remove the mural calling to defund the police, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said, “Well, it’s not a part of the mural, and we certainly encourage expression, but we are using the city streets for city art.”
When she was pressed on whether it would be removed, she said that she had not had an “opportunity to review it.”
Some politicians have voiced their support for the movement. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) previously tweeted his support for the push to defund police departments that violate civil rights.
Every police department violating people's civil rights must be stripped of federal funding.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) June 4, 2020
However, when Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) did not commit to defunding the police department, protesters began to shout “Shame! Shame!” and “Go home, Jacob, go home!”