From New York to Los Angeles, Seattle to Miami, demands are growing to rein in a militarized and out-of-control police force that civil liberties activists say has wreaked havoc on black communities for decades. Local councils in many states are pressing for banning rough methods such as chokeholds, rolling back rampant militarisation, and demanding defunding or redirecting police budgets – which eat up more than 25 per cent of city or town revenues in some cases – to fund other mitigation programs, including social and health services.
Activists are also taking the matter to the international arena as Americans become familiar with what has been a poorly kept secret: The United States has the largest prison population in the world – 25 per cent of all incarcerated people on the planet – amid a systemic decades-long police chokehold on black people that comes to the fore only during their murder. Over the weekend, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, the legal team, and the family of George Floyd were reported to have submitted an appeal to the United Nations to intervene in the case of Floyd’s death and make recommendations for systemic police reform in the US.
The disclosure that the police have been sucking up large portions of the budget while healthcare workers have had to recycle masks and gowns during a pandemic has outraged many Americans. New York City Mayor Bill Blasio, whose police force has an annual allocation of $6 billion in a $90 billion budget, said he planned to divert some of the money youth services and social services even as many smaller towns where police garner a larger chuck consider defunding.
But Minneapolis, where the murder of George Floyd by the police ignited the nationwide unrest and a police crackdown is going the farthest by pledging to completely disband the police force amid alarm from law and order advocates. The City Council said without elaborating that police would be replaced by a “transformative new model of public safety.”
The move angered policing advocates, including President Trump, who tweeted, “LAW & ORDER, NOT DEFUND AND ABOLISH THE POLICE. The Radical Left Democrats have gone Crazy!”
LAW & ORDER, NOT DEFUND AND ABOLISH THE POLICE. The Radical Left Democrats have gone Crazy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 1591619610000
Trump’s former advocate general Jeff Sessions got into a Twitter spat with Ilhan Omar, the Somalian-American Congresswoman from Minnesota, who backed the City Council by tweeting: “The Minneapolis Police Department has proven themselves beyond reform. It’s time to disband them and reimagine public safety in Minneapolis.”
Sessions: Radical Leftists like Ilhan Omar and the rest of “the Squad” are dead wrong. Don’t defund the police. Defund the thought police.
Ilhan Omar: You called the NAACP Un-American and said you thought the Klu Klux Klan were okay until you learned they smoked pot. Maybe sit this one out.
Sessions: You brushed off the 9/11 attacks as “some people did something.” You’ve celebrated anti-Semitism. You have a habit of rooting for the bad guys, and you should stop unfairly demonizing our brave law enforcement officers. I for one will never sit out defending those who defend us.
Meanwhile, several surveys are now showing President Trump is slipping further behind Democratic nominee Joe Biden although nationwide popular vote polls mean little in determining the winner in elections that are almost five months away. A CNN poll released over the weekend showed Biden leading Trump 55-41, and other polls, including those from NBC/WSJ,and CNBC show Trump trailing anywhere from nine to seven points. This, even as several Republican grandees are starting to openly express their opposition to the President.
On Sunday, former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney joined a protest march saying he wanted to “make sure that people understand that black lives matter,” a day after former Secretary of State Colin Powell called Trump a liar and said he would be backing Biden.
Tremendous sincerity, what a guy. Hard to believe, with this kind of political talent, his numbers would “tank” so… https://t.co/VVPihJ3k6x
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 1591619423000
But Trump trashed both of them on Twitter. “Tremendous sincerity, what a guy. Hard to believe, with this kind of political talent, his numbers would “tank” so badly in Utah! “ while trashing other polls,” he mocked at Romney, while calling Powell “highly overrated stiff.”
CNN Polls are as Fake as their Reporting. Same numbers, and worse, against Crooked Hillary. The Dems would destroy America!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 1591620515000
“CNN Polls are as Fake as their Reporting. Same numbers, and worse, against Crooked Hillary. The Dems would destroy America!” Trump wrote in another tweet, claiming, “If I wasn’t constantly harassed for three years by fake and illegal investigations, Russia, Russia, Russia, and the Impeachment Hoax, I’d be up by 25 points on Sleepy Joe and the Do Nothing Democrats. Very unfair, but it is what it is!!!”