On Wednesday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Don Lemon Tonight,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) said we need “a radical reimagining of community safety and public safety, which means reallocating and not further investing in a carceral state,” especially since qualified immunity for police officers hasn’t been ended.
After host Don Lemon asked if supporting defunding the police is the right message given the current circumstances, Pressley said, “Don, what I support is our making investments in communities that have historically been under-invested in, divested from, forcing people to struggle to meet their most basic needs and oftentimes that behavior, just to survive, is criminalized and that’s everything from poverty, to homelessness, to substance use disorder, to mental health. And so, what I support is an investment in community, and I think if we do that robustly, in a targeted way, particularly to those communities that have historically been under-resourced, that supports the health of community and the stabilization of families and in turn, that supports public safety.”
Lemon then asked Pressley if she supports defunding the police.
Pressley responded, “Don, what I support and it’s why I’ve put forward bills like my Counseling Not Criminalization Act is that instead of our spending $1 billion over the last two decades to have 46,000 school police officers when every child does not have equitable access to a school nurse, a social worker, or a guidance counselor, some of those ratios are one counselor for every 2,000 students. So, yes, I support a radical reimagining of community safety and public safety, which means reallocating and not further investing in a carceral state, especially, Don, when we have not yet ended qualified immunity. So, that needs to be the priority, is police accountability.”
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