On Sunday, Rep. Ilhan Omar appeared on CNN’s State of the Union and spoke with host Jake Tapper about the movement to defund the police and specifically, calls to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department, which Minneapolis city council members voted to begin the process of replacing with a community-led initiative. In speaking to Tapper, Omar summed it up simply, saying, “You can’t really reform a department that is rotten to the root—what you can do is rebuild.” But the topic is a complex one, and Omar breaks down fuller details in the clip below.
The Democratic congresswoman’s main point? That real reform means something new has to be put into the place of the existing structures. That said, she stressed that the community still has needs for safety and that there needs to be an appropriate way of responding when people are in danger or when crimes occur. For Omar, it’s about replacing the infrastructure that is currently in place with something safer for everyone.
Tapper asked Omar, “Just to be clear, you’re not saying that there’s nothing that takes its place?”
In her own words, Omar clarified that common misconception: “No one is saying that the community is not going to be kept safe. No one is saying crimes will not be investigated. No one is saying that we are not going to have proper response when community members are in danger.”
“What we are saying is the current infrastructure that exists as policing in our city should not exist anymore,” she added. Omar also used San Francisco as a model example, saying, “they’re moving toward a process where there is a separation of the kind of crimes that solicit the help of officers and the kind of crimes that we should have someone else respond to.”
The subject of defunding the police has been divisive among Democrats. For example, when asked about calls from some popular Democrats to put more funds into police Omar suggested, “If you had a company that wasn’t producing, you wouldn’t just pour more money into it so that it would produce.” She continued: “You would step back and say, let’s look at what works, what doesn’t work, and how do we move forward.”
Here is that clip.
Earlier on Sunday, Stacey Abrams also spoke on defunding the police.
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