by WorldTribune Staff, June 9, 2020
President Donald Trump is reviewing proposals to reform criminal justice, but said communities cannot allow the Left’s movement to defund police departments put public safety at risk.
“We won’t be defunding our police. We won’t be dismantling our police,” the president said on Monday in a meeting with law enforcement officials at the White House.
“Sometimes you’ll see some horrible things like we witnessed recently, but 99, I say 99.9, but let’s go with 99 percent of them are great, great people.”
Related: Leftists nationwide moving quickly to defund police departments, June 8, 2020
Trump added: “This has been a very strong year for less crime. We have great law enforcement. I’m very proud of them. Our police have been letting us live in peace.”
Attorney General William Barr, who attended the president’s meeting with the law enforcement officials, said, “I know that there is a lot of interest from police leaders for clarity and guidance on the use of force … making sure the standards are out there, making sure they are trained and making sure they are adhered to. The time for waiting is over. It’s now incumbent on us to bring good out of bad.”
Barr added, “The other aspect of this is the rule of law and the need for law and order. It’s the foundation of civilization. It is our responsibility to make sure that our country is ruled by law and not by violence.”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the president opposes aspects of a wide-ranging policing bill introduced Monday by congressional Democrats, including a federal ban on police chokeholds and limits on qualified immunity, which shields government officials and officers from being sued for misconduct while acting in their official capacity.
“The world is witnessing the birth of a new movement in our country,” Rep. Karen Bass, the California Democrat who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, told reporters on Capitol Hill on Monday. “A profession where you have the power to kill should be a profession where you have highly trained officers accountable to the public.”
Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s communications director, said defunding the police “is consuming the entire Democrat Party.”
Andrew Bates, spokesman for Joe Biden’s campaign, said the presumptive Democratic nominee doesn’t support defunding police, but he does support “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.”
The defund the police issue is also causing a rift with police unions for Biden. The executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations has said Biden “kept moving left and fell off the deep end.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said the calls to gut police departments are “outlandish” and that relying on social workers would not be effective.
“I’m all for social work and mental health,” McConnell said. “But — call me old-fashioned — I think you may actually want a police officer to stop a criminal and arrest him before we try to work through his feelings. I have a feeling the American people are too smart for this.”
The White House emphasized the amount of crime-fighting work that police carry out across the U.S. in a given year, using 2018 as an example: 11,970 arrests on murder charges, 88,130 arrests on robbery charges, 395,800 arrests on aggravated assault charges and nearly half a million arrests on all types of violent crime charges.
“That’s police officers who are doing the arresting,” McEnany said. “You eliminate police officers, you will have chaos, crime and anarchy in the streets, and that’s something that’s unacceptable to the president.”