Ossoff: Funding for Police Departments Has to Be 'On the Line'

Analysis finds more, not less, funding improves police performance

June 15, 2020

In a call for "national policing standards," Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff said he favors cutting funds for police departments if they violate his proposed rules on the use of force.

"You have to have national standards for the use of force, and yeah, you've got to be able to hold individual officers and entire departments accountable, and there also has to be funding for those departments on the line," he said Thursday on "The Rashad Richey Morning Show."

Ossoff's remarks come amid a national movement from liberals to "defund the police." A Washington Free Beacon analysis found more, not less, money would improve police performance and lower crime.

Ossoff did not specify if he meant federal or local funding, though if elected he would wield influence over the former. About 20 percent of police funding comes from federal spending. When asked last week if he backed the "defund" movement, Ossoff told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he favors "reforming and demilitarizing policing in America."

"We have pervasive racism and classism in the criminal justice system that victimizes African Americans and people without wealth and connections," he said. "And we have a huge problem with police brutality, and our police forces are heavily militarized."

Ossoff's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Ossoff, who has never held office, clinched Georgia's Democratic Senate nomination last week and will face Sen. David Perdue (R., Ga.) in November. He previously sought Georgia's Sixth Congressional District seat in 2017, losing to Republican Karen Handel.

In a statement last week, Perdue called for justice for George Floyd, whose death in police custody sparked nationwide protests, and he said defunding the police was an "outrageous idea."