Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) will introduce a bill to replace police officers with “community-led first responders” as crime surges across the nation.
The bill would establish a Division on Community Safety within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to “focus on supporting those disproportionately criminalized by police,” NBC News first reported.
Bush’s legislation comes as crime is surging across America, with Democrat-run cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Portland, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Chicago all witnessing significant spikes in their homicide rates.
“What this will do directly is save lives,” Bush told NBC News. “What we will have done is change the culture, removing their crisis care from one that has to deal with law enforcement to one that actually works with the providers that would take care of them normally, people that understand what they’re facing.”
Bush further explained:
From the very beginning, my team engaged with local community groups all over the country about this legislation. People would have meetings and talk about activists and policing and protests, but they wouldn’t bring the actual people on the ground to the table. So that’s something I wanted to make sure I did differently. We have people involved who were locally based in St. Louis and in other parts of the country.
Reps Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) are co-sponsoring the measure to “limit people’s encounters with law enforcement by funding community systems led by health officials, to respond to mental health emergencies, rather than police.”
The defund the police movement has, according to NBC News, “called for an end to relying on police for social services like responding to mental health crises, disciplining children and interacting with unhoused people” and to instead rely on the federal government to “incentivize states and local governments to shrink their dependence on criminal legal systems and invest in community-led public safety initiatives.”
On April 23, Bush said on ABC’s “The View” that she believes in the movement to “defund our police departments.”
“Almost a thousand people have been murdered by police, have been killed by police since George Floyd lost his life, almost a thousand. We cannot continue to do the same thing and expect something different,” she continued.