Joe Manchin: Notion to Defund Police ‘Craziest Thing I’ve Ever Heard’

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) walks to the Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. Today marks day one of the Senate impeachment trial against President Trump. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images, Edit: BNN

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) sat down with the Washington Examiner for an interview on Monday where he discussed the death of George Floyd and the movement to defund police.

Manchin said:

A lot of our friends from the black communities have been very quiet about it over the years because it’s just a matter of fact. It’s what happens. This is how they’re treated. Now, knowing that our friends and our colleagues could be stopped just because of the color of their skin, and we’re not because of our color is wrong.

Elaborating on his statement, Manchin said the treatment Floyd received should not be tolerated in America. He then brought to attention the far-left movement to defund the police that has swept the nation. Manshin stated:

So, we’ve got to change. How do you change? Someone says, well, they’re going to get rid of policing or defund. I said that is the craziest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. You can’t defund the police and have militia or anarchy going on. That would be horrible.

According to the Examiner, Manchin’s remarks came “ahead of a roundtable he organized with Jovita Carranza (the administrator of the Small Business Administration), small business owners, and bankers.” After the interview, Manchin drove himself to D.C. for a Monday evening vote.

“The No. 1 agenda item for Mitch McConnell, since he has been the leader, is to make sure we vote on judges,” Manchin said. “That’s all. Every week is based around judges.”

A bill in consideration of being picked up by the Senate is the Justice Act, a bill sponsored by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) which aims to reform policing. According to Manchin, members in the Senate have been “dissecting” Scott’s bill.

In regards to the bill and its contents, Manchin said:

We’ve been dissecting both Tim Scott’s bill and the president’s executive order. Some of the things that just make common sense that all of us can agree on is, first of all, is a chokehold necessary? I’ve talked to military people. And they said there’s two ways I can use a chokehold: to put you to sleep or I can use a chokehold to kill you. If you don’t know how to administer, you can use it thinking you know what you are doing, and you don’t.

So, there’s no need for that. Chokeholds should be banned, period, so I think that’s something we can agree on. The other thing we can agree on is a national registry that every policeman puts on the uniform or badge and takes an oath of office anywhere in the country should go into a national registry, and his record follows him or her.

An obstacle in the Senate when it comes to negotiations of Scott’s bill is that of qualified immunity, which, according to Cornell Law School, “protects a government official from lawsuits alleging that the official violated a plaintiff’s rights, only allowing suits where officials violated a ‘clearly established’ statutory or constitutional right.”

Manchin said:

Policemen have basically told me, they said, ‘Joe, we have a hard time. If the police were exposed to that lawsuit, we have a hard time keeping what we have, let alone attracting new officers.’ On the other hand, Tim Scott says he is willing to sit down, and he wants to negotiate, and maybe we can find a pathway forward. That’s all good.

What we don’t know is if Mitch McConnell wants to put this bill up and fast-track it. You can’t fast-track a bill if you really want good input.

Manchin also commented on his known habit of working across the aisle, saying “I talk to everybody.”

“Everyone gets paranoid,” Manchin claimed, “especially if someone sees me talking to someone on the other side of the aisle. I say, whoa, wait a minute. I talk to everybody. I talk to everybody, and I work with everybody, and I don’t go out and try to campaign against anybody.”

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