The US president would invest more money in the local police force to hire more diverse officers and better train them for the job.
United States President Joe Biden said instead of defusing the police, a key demand of the protest movement that broke out in police custody following the death of a black man last year, he would put more money into the local police force.
During a televised town hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Tuesday night Biden outlined the improvements he is hoping for the criminal justice and policing in the country.
Floyd’s death on May 25 last year sparked protests against the police brutality led by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, with calls for the police to be abolished or defused, not just for Floyd, but for many black Americans killed by law enforcement officers.
After Floyd’s death, some Democrats had pushed for a review of local police budgets and called for funds to be redirected to social and mental health services.
BLM activists say the call is not about eliminating police departments or depriving agencies of all their money, but about getting the country to address systemic policing issues and spend more on community needs like housing and education.
“Don’t defuse the police”
When asked how US law enforcement agencies could protect citizens in high crime areas while training officers to be compassionate police officers, Biden replied, “Number one without defusing the police.
“We need to invest more money to make this work, so that we have a legitimate community police force, and we are in a situation where we can change the legislation,” he added.
On the campaign trail last year, Biden pledged to invest $ 300 million in a program that grants grants for hiring diverse officers and trains them in building less controversial relationships with communities. He had helped divert police funding to combat mental health or change the prison system.
He repeated another election promise on Tuesday and ended his sentence for drug use alone.
“Nobody should go to jail for a drug offense. Nobody should go to jail for drug use, they should go to drug rehabilitation, ”he said.
“Every police officer has the right to expect to be able to go home to his family that night if he gets up in the morning and puts on this sign,” added Biden. “Conversely, every child who walks across the street wearing a hoodie is not a member of a gang and wants to knock someone out.”
COVID auxiliary bill
The Tuesday visit, as well as a trip planned for Thursday that will take Biden to a vaccine manufacturing facility in Michigan state, gave the Democratic president an opportunity to point out the importance of a new relief bill, even if Republicans continue to largely oppose its massive price tag.
Biden wants Congress to pass the laws in the coming weeks to give Americans a $ 1,400 incentive and boost unemployment benefits.
Some aspects of the bill, including Biden’s drive to raise the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour by 2025, could struggle to get enough support to survive.
After a small business owner raised concerns at City Hall on Tuesday, Biden suggested he might be ready to consider a phased introduction.