Calls to defund or abolish police departments have become one of the many rallying cries of the protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. But activists and politicians don’t necessarily see eye to eye on what that demand means.
“I think it’s a useful demand,” D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said Tuesday. “It’s a call for reform, and we miss that call if we insist upon taking this call literally.”
“That’s not what we mean,” said Makia Green, an organizer for Black Lives Mater D.C. “Our chapter has put out calls for defunding the police, and we mean complete defunding.”
Norton joins other high-profile leaders in supporting the movement, but interpreting the calls for defunding as calls for an overhaul.
“I think the slogan may be misleading,” Rev. Al Sharpton said on MSNBC this week.
Norton added that in her D.C. district, if she were to call for removal of police in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods, “they would think I was crazy. They have been asking for more police.”
See the video for more from Norton and Green on how activists and lawmakers can move forward in addressing police violence.