Moderate, progressive Democrats battle over defunding police

NYPD police officers in Times Square. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

NYPD police officers in Times Square. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 2:30 PM PT – Sunday, July 18, 2021

Progressives and moderates in the Democrat Party have reportedly been feuding as moderates appeared to be abandoning the idea of defunding the police. Throughout the 2020 election cycle, Democrats cheered on calls to defund the police, with Kamala Harris saying policing needed reimagining and more officers on the ground was not the answer.

Joe Biden has also said funding absolutely could and should be redirected from police departments to other services. Since Election Day however, the Biden administration has reversed course in these calls.

Just after the election, Biden urged progressives to abandon the defund campaign plank and said it cost the party seats in the House.

“That’s how they beat the living hell out of us across the country, saying that we’re talking about defunding the police. We’re not,” he claimed. “We’re talking about holding them accountable. We’re talking about giving them money to do the right things.”

In a July letter, Biden urged local leaders to use some of the American Rescue Plan money to fund local police departments, including hiring additional officers on the beat.

Eric Adams, the presumptive Democrat nominee for mayor of New York, was a former police officer who ran his campaign as the pro law and order choice. He said in a recent interview that he would have officers backs if they maintained the trust of the citizens of New York. He added officers should still do their jobs on the street regardless of government statements.

“I didn’t like what the government was doing when I was a police officer for 22 years, but when I put on that gun and shield, I protected the people of this city,” he asserted. “I’m going to have the finest officers. I will have their backs, but they need to have the backs of the people of this city.”

Progressive Democrats have been at odds with the the moderate wing wanting to increase police presence. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) left nothing open to debate with her position on the issue when she was asked by CNN’s Don Lemon if she still supported defunding the police.

She went on to say, “yes, I support a radical reimagining of community safety and public safety, which means reallocating and not further investing in a carceral state.”

As the progressive wing of the party continues its cries to defund, the moderate wing has pushed forward with greater funding anyway.

The Minneapolis City Council, which unanimously voted to abolish the city’s police in 2020, reversed course earlier this year. They unanimously voted instead to add police officers to the force after violent crime spiked.

New York City, which cut NYPD funding by a billion dollars last year, also chose to increase funding instead of staying the so-called progressive course.

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