Tyler Perry on ‘Defund Police’ Push: ‘I Think We Need More Police’

Wednesday on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” movie mogul and actor Tyler Perry expressed his concerns over the so-called “Defund Police” protests around the country.

Perry indicated he was “worried” the message was “being hijacked” for the sake of politics in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in the custody of Minneapolis police.

“So, when they saw George Floyd’s death, this horrific, horrible death played out as this man pleaded for his life and begged and said ‘please’ many, many times, it — seeing it changes everything,” he explained. “So I became very, very optimistic when everybody galvanized together because I know that’s when change comes. When people galvanize and come together as one, that’s when change happens.”

“But, lately, I’ve been very, very concerned that the message is being hijacked by some other groups or political ads and parties that are trying to stop the message of what we’re asking for here as police reform, right?” Perry continued. So, yeah, I was, but I’m worried now because of what I’m seeing.”

Perry also spoke about paying for supermarket gift cards for Atlanta Police to hand out at a Kroger grocery store on the heels of Rayshard Brooks’ death. When posed a question about the political backlash generated from protesters calling for the defunding of police, Perry stressed his view that police were a necessity.

Remarks as follows:

Well, when I first heard it, I was troubled by it, and I thought OK, this is — this is going to be weaponized by — in this political year. I completely thought that that was happening. That’s exactly what’s happened. It’s been weaponized. But I did some research. And what I would challenge people to do is do research and find out what it means. Now, you’ve got to understand this — I’m not for taking money from the police department. I think we need more police. My studio is in a neighborhood where I think we need police.”

But we don’t need police that have — that are under-trained. And you’ve got to understand — I have really close friends who are police officers that I love dearly, who are really good people, who have been very, very hurt by this, as well. And here’s what I want you to understand, Anderson, wrong — where there is wrong, I’m going to stand up against it. When Rayshard Brooks was murdered, I thought that was wrong. When George — George Floyd was murdered, I thought that was wrong, like so many other people. But when a police officer who was white in a suburb in Atlanta was shot in the head by a shoplifter, I thought that was wrong, too, and I reached out to do what I can to help his family.

When Secoriea was — an eight-year-old was shot near the Wendy’s in her mother’s backseat, I thought that was wrong, too. So, anywhere there is wrong, I’m going to stand up against it. I just don’t believe that, and I believe in most — I don’t believe that there are lots of people — let me just change that to understand that there are a lot of people in America who feel the way that I do, right? I think we need the police. I know that I need the police. I have several that work for me here at the studio. We need them, but we need them reformed. We need them trained well. We need the right structure, right? But some of the things inside of defund the police, I really understand like having officers who are clinically trained to deal with certain situations. I think all of those things are helpful. But taking money from the police department to make the police department smaller, that troubles me.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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