Harris Dodges on Defunding the Police

June 8, 2020

Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), a top Democratic vice presidential contender, did not respond directly when asked whether she supports an initiative gaining traction among left-wing activists to defund the police.

"We need to reimagine how we're achieving public safety in America," Harris told The View. "To have cities where one-third of their entire budget is going to policing, but yet there is a dire need in those same cities for mental health resources, for resources going into public schools, for resources going into job training and job creation. Come on."

Harris said American communities focus too much on funding police forces instead of other services.

Harris has been touted as a potential running mate for Joe Biden, whose campaign said Monday the former vice president opposes initiatives to defund the police.

While the vast majority of Americans oppose defunding police, the proposal has gained traction among left-wing activists amid widespread protests against police violence. The city council of Minneapolis, where a police officer killed unarmed black man George Floyd in May, vowed to disband the city's police force. A crowd of protesters booed Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey on Sunday when he said he opposed the move. The Minneapolis City Council president defended the council's decision, dismissing safety concerns as coming "from a place of privilege."

Proponents of "defunding the police" have disagreed over the slogan's exact meaning. Some call for a total elimination of police departments, while others propose simply cutting police budgets.