Rep. Val Demings (D., Fla.) called the Minneapolis City Council "very thoughtful" on Monday in its intent to defund and dismantle the police department.
"I do believe that everyone has a right to look at any proposal that is put forth because there desperately needs to be change," Demings said on CBS This Morning. "I also believe that the council is being very thoughtful in terms of looking at all of the services that police provide…. The council, along with law enforcement authorities and other community leaders, will sit down and look at everything and come out with a plan that allows them to keep Minneapolis safe but also bring the community and the police together in a much needed and long overdue way."
Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is considering Demings, a former Orlando police chief, to join him on the 2020 ticket. Biden has pledged his running mate will be a woman, and he has been encouraged by some allies to choose a black woman.
Demings said police officers are too often required to respond to problems outside the scope of their training. She also criticized Attorney General William Barr's assertion that systemic racism does not exist in law enforcement.
"I don't believe he believes that," she said. "I believe that is just a talking point."
Nine of the 13 members of the Minneapolis City Council—amounting to a veto-proof majority against Mayor Jacob Frey (D)—announced their intention to dismantle the police department and replace it with a new public-safety model on Sunday. Since the death of George Floyd in police custody last month, protesters in Minneapolis and across the country have demanded systemic police reforms.
Minneapolis City Council president Lisa Bender told CNN the city intended to create a "new model of public safety" with its approach. Asked on Monday what she would tell opponents who would wonder who to call when a robber broke into their home, Bender said that attitude came from a "place of privilege."