As the "Defund the Police" movement continues taking center stage at Black Lives Matter protests and riots throughout the country, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" that the goal isn't to permanently dismantle the police department but rather to "start anew." Omar and the members of the Minneapolis City Council agree that the Minneapolis Police Department is beyond repair.
"Let’s talk about that. Because you’ve talked about the dismantling, the need to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department. What takes its place, if you could just decree what takes its place, if you could decree what takes its place? Who investigates crimes? Who arrests criminals? What happens?” Tapper asked.
“Yeah. So, Minneapolis unanimously just voted on a resolution that will engage the community on a one-year process of what happens as we go through the process of dismantling the department and starting anew," Omar said. "A new way forward can’t be put in place if we have a department that is having a crisis of credibility, if we have a department that’s led by a chief who’s suited for racism, if we have a department that hasn’t solved homicides, half of the homicides in Minneapolis Police Department go unsolved. There have been cases where they’ve destroyed rape kits."
"And so you can’t really reform a department that is rotten to the root. What you can do is rebuild. And so this is our opportunity, you know, as a city, come together, have the conversation of what public safety looks like, who enforces the most dangerous crimes that take place in our community, and just like San Francisco did, right now they’re moving towards a process where there is a separation of the kind of crimes that solicit the help of, you know, officers, and the kind of crimes that we should have someone else respond to," she explained.
Tapper said, for clarification, that Omar wasn't calling for the MPD to be dismantled and replaced with nothing.
"Absolutely not. I think that's where the conversation is going wrong because no one is saying the community is not going to be kept safe. No one is saying crimes won't be investigated. No one is saying that we're not going to have the proper response when community members are in danger," she explained. "What we are saying is the current infrastructure that exists as policing in our city should not exist anymore and we can't go about creating a different process with the same infrastructure in place."
According to the freshman congresswoman, that's why the city has decided to "dismantle' the current MPD. The city can then look at what things should be "funding priorities" as they can "imagine a new way forward."
"It's truly what needs to happen. That's why you had 13 members unanimously on a city council vote to start this process," she said.
Omar said there are other cities that should be doing the exact same thing Minneapolis is doing, although she didn't identify which ones.
What Omar said directly conflicts with what others have claimed. Reverend Al Sharpton and John Legend have both said the calls to "defund the police" are about pulling some funding from police departments and moving it towards other areas, like mental health. Neither one of them talked about completely gutting the police department and creating something new to establish a police presence. In fact, this "defund the police" movement is so radical that even "Democratic socialist" Bernie Sanders can't get behind it.
Sounds like Democrats are all over the place on this issue and don't know what it is they actually want. They just know they don't want what they currently have.
"You can't really reform a department that is rotten to the root. What you can do is rebuild," Rep. Ilhan Omar explains her calls to defund the police departments. "No one is saying crimes will not be investigated." #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/t3q10iJv3C— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) June 14, 2020