As people take to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd, some have called for police departments to be defunded.
During a debate on New York Spectrum News 1, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez voiced her support for the reduction and redirection of police department funds to help address systemic racism and excessive use of force in law enforcement agencies.
She stated: "The reduction of our NYPD budget and defunding a $6 billion budget that costs us books in the hands of our children and costs us very badly needed investment in NYCHA and public housing."
Activists speaking against systemic racism and police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's death are calling for police departments to be defunded and the money saved redirected to other social programs.
This argument maintains that addressing the underlying community issues will lead to fewer crimes of desperation, and therefore less need for police and fewer police brutality-related deaths.
During his visit to a demonstration, protesters booed Mayor Jacob Frey off the stage when he stated that he wouldn't commit to defunding the Minneapolis Police Department.
In New York, AOC and a number of progressive city council members asked New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio to shave off $1bn from the NYPD's $6bn budget.
However, De Blasio refused, maintaining that this would put the city at risk.
"I do not believe it's a good idea to reduce the budget of the agency that's here to keep us safe," he said.
However, De Blasio released a list of planned police reforms, including a repeal of Bill 50a, - which shields police misconduct records from public scrutiny - shifting some funds toward social services, NYPD vendor enforcement, and adding "community voices" to the department’s leadership.
AOC called for the demilitarization of police by reducing military equipment that departments can obtain and ending qualified immunity for officers. She also asked that chokeholds be banned.
In Minnesota, Rep. Ilhan Omar called for the disbandment of the Minneapolis Police Department, claiming that the agency was "beyond reform."
President Donald Trump responded to the calls to defund the police, and attacked Joe Biden, his presumed opponent in the upcoming elections.
"Sleepy Joe Biden and the Radical Left Democrats want to 'DEFUND THE POLICE,' I want great and well paid LAW ENFORCEMENT. I want LAW & ORDER!" he tweeted.
Biden's campaign has yet to comment on the calls to defund the police.