Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden told NowThis’ Ady Barkan that he supports redirecting money from police departments into other areas such as mental health care and affordable housing.
To make #BlackLivesMatter, we need to redirect money away from police departments into mental health care, affordable housing, good jobs & restorative justice.
I asked Joe Biden what he thinks about this approach. Watch his answer. pic.twitter.com/vnXhhhw7Rx
— Ady Barkan (@AdyBarkan) July 8, 2020
Here is a transcript of that conversation:
Barkan: The most painful part of having ALS is thinking about all the experiences I don’t get to have with my children. I can’t chase Carl around the house and make him laugh with silly dances. I can’t squeeze little Willow and kiss her head. And I am heartbroken when I think about the decades of joy that I will probably miss out on.
I know we share this pain and I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose my children. George Floyd had five children. Breonna Taylor was only 26 and had decades of hopes and dreams ahead of her. But America’s commitment to white supremacy stole away those relationships and those futures.
The leaders for Black Lives believe that we have been trying to reform police departments for many decades and it is not working. Instead, they believe that the solution is to reduce the number of interactions that civilians have with police.
We can reduce the responsibilities assigned to the police and redirect some of the funding for police into social services like mental health counseling and affordable housing. So for example, instead of sending two police officers with deadly weapons to that Wendy’s drive-thru in Atlanta we could have sent a wellness counselor and a tow truck and then Rayshard Brooks would still be alive today and his three daughters would still have their daddy. Are you open to that kind of reform?
Biden: Yes I propose that kind of reform. We need significantly more help. That’s why I call for a significant increase in the funding of mental health clinics and providers. We are desperately in need of that now. One of the things I’ve been pushing for in my administration, we put together the ability and the bill that I wrote to make sure that we can look at the pattern and practice of police departments.
Go in and get at all the records and find out what they are doing. That’s why we’re able to stop the stop and frisk in Camden. The stop and frisk in New York City and the rest. Where the federal government has the right to go in and change systemically what is going on. There is a whole range of things that we can do. The idea of no-knock warrants for drug cases is bizarre. We don’t need that. It just invites trouble. That’s how Breonna was called.
There is a need for fundamental change in us to be able to have transparency. To be able to have access to the records of police when they have misconduct charges against them. To be able to know where they are so they can’t go from one police department to the next. That should be held in my administration.
That information will have to be made available to the Department of Justice and held in a file so you’ll be able to track this. Surplus military equipment for law enforcement, they don’t need that. The last thing you need is an up-armored Humvee coming into a neighborhood. It’s like the military invading. They don’t know anybody. They become the enemy. They are supposed to be helping these people. So my generic point is…
Barkan: So do we agree that we can redirect some of the funding?
Biden: Yes. Absolutely. One of the things that we also need to be doing is fundamentally changing the way and I’ve been pushing it for years is the way we deal with our prison system. It should be a rehabilitation system. Not a punishment system.
We’re going to make sure you are qualified for every single right you had before you served your time. And that means that you are entitled to Pell Grants to go to school. You are entitled to job training programs. You are entitled to housing grants. You are entitled to every federal program out there.
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Photo “Joe Biden” by NowThis.