Sanders Dismisses Progressive Calls to Defund Police, Says Departments Need More Resources

Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally in Milford, N.H. on February 4, 2020. (Mike Segar / Reuters)

Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) Broke from progressive counterparts in calls to spoil the police, but instead said that the country needs “well-trained, well-trained and well-paid police professionals”.

Sanders spoke to progressive critics who viewed him as an obstacle to the growing call to unmask the police following national unrest following George Floyd’s death in a New Yorker interview published Tuesday.

“Do I think we shouldn’t have a police in America? No I don’t. There is no city in the world that has no police, “he said.

On Sunday, Minneapolis City Council announced that it had a veto majority to “abolish the Minneapolis police system as we know it,” and City Council President Lisa Bender explained on Monday that fears about the consequences of dismantling the police ‘comes from a place’ privileged. “Ilhan Omar, a former surrogate for Sanders’ presidential campaign, applauded the decision.

Another Sanders ally, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), tried to explain on Twitter that the call to unmask the police “means that Black & Brown communities are asking for the same budgetary priorities that white communities have already created for themselves.”

But when asked how many people in the progressive movement are now calling for the police to be exposed or abolished, Sanders threw up. The Vermont Senator rejected the idea that reducing police budgets would help to remove racial differences in the use of force, and seemed to suggest that the police should receive additional resources.

“Too often in this country, right now, you have police officers who take the job at a very low cost, have not had much education, have not received much education,” he said.

“I want to change that,” he continued. “I also called for the transformation of the police into – understanding that many police stations and policemen face mental illness, addiction issues and all kinds of other things that need to be addressed by mental health professionals or others every day, not only by police officers. ‘

Sanders concluded by saying he wanted to “redefine what the police do” by helping the police “better define their work”.

“I really believe we need well-trained, well-trained and well-paid police professionals. Anyone who thinks we should abolish all police forces in America, I disagree, ” he said.