Biden Said He Would ‘Absolutely’ Redirect Some Police Funding

By Melanie Arter | July 8, 2020 | 5:09pm EDT
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden answers questions after speaking about the coronavirus pandemic and the economy on June 30, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden answers questions after speaking about the coronavirus pandemic and the economy on June 30, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

( – Former Vice President Joe Biden expressed his support for defunding the police on Wednesday a month after saying he doesn’t support defunding the police. 

As previously reported, Biden told CBS News last month, “No, I don't support defunding the police."

But in an interview with “Now This News” on Wednesday, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate was asked whether he is open to the kind of reform where social workers are sent to respond to some 911 calls instead of the police, for example in the case of Rayshard Brooks, who was shot and killed while being arrested in Atlanta.

“Yes, I proposed that kind of reform. We need significantly more help. That’s why I called for significant increase in funding for mental health clinics and mental health providers. We are desperately in need of that now,” Biden said.

“One of the things I’ve been pushing for --- in our administration we put together the ability in a bill that I wrote to make sure that we can look at the pattern and practice of police department. Go in and get all the records and find out what they’re doing,” he said.

“That’s why we’re able to stop the stop-and-frisk in Camden, the stop-and-frisk in New York City and the rest where the federal government has the right to go in and change systemically what’s going on. There’s a whole range of things that we can do. The idea of no-knock warrants in drug cases is bizarre. We don’t need that. It just invites trouble. That’s how Breonna was killed,” the former vice president said.

“There’s a need for fundamental change in us being able to have transparency, be able to have access to the records of police when they have misconduct charges against them, to be able to know where they are so they can’t go from one police department to the next,” he said.

“That should be held in my administration, that information will have to be made available to the Justice Department and held in a file so you’d be able to track this. Surplus military equipment for law enforcement – they don’t need that,” Biden said.

“The last thing you need is an armored Humvee coming into a neighborhood. It’s like the military invading. They don’t know anybody. They become the enemy. They’re supposed to be protecting these people,” he said.

“Can we agree that we can redirect some of the funding?” Ady Barkan asked.

“Yes. Absolutely. One of the things that we also need to be doing is fundamentally changing the way – and I’ve been pushing it for years – changing the way we deal with our prison system. It should be a rehabilitation system, not a punishment system,” Biden said.

“We’re gonna make sure you’re qualified for every single right you had before you went to prison if you served your time, and that means that you’re entitled to Pell grants to go to school. You’re entitled to job training programs. You’re entitled to housing grants. You’re entitled to every federal program out there,” he said.

Black Lives Matter activists are calling for defunding the police, which means divesting taxpayer funding from the police and using the money for other priorities like education, health care, housing, and employment opportunities.

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