Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., disagrees with fellow progressive Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and her call for “no more policing, incarceration, and militarization” after the death of Daunte Wright in Minnesota.
“I think that what we need to do is to understand that there needs to be major, major police reform all across this country,” Sanders told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Wednesday. “We are tired of seeing the same thing, week after week and year after year. We do not want to see innocent African Americans shot in cold blood. I think that is an area that needs a significant amount of work, and I hope that Congress begins to work on that immediately.
Tlaib tweeted Monday that Wright’s death during an encounter with police in Minneapolis “wasn’t an accident. Policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist. Daunte Wright was met with aggression & violence. I am done with those who condone government-funded murder. No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed.”
Wright, 20, was shot and killed during a traffic stop Sunday in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, about 10 miles from where former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial in connection with the death of another Black man, George Floyd.
Former officer Kim Potter, a 26-year police veteran, resigned from the city’s police department Tuesday and has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. She faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine if she is convicted.
Former Police Chief Tim Gannon, who also resigned Tuesday, said Potter apparently had intended to use her Taser on Wright but instead grabbed her handgun.
Protesters and Wright’s family members, though, say the death shows injustice for Black people and are pointing out that he was pulled over for having an expired car registration but ended up dead.
Tlaib and some other Democrats are calling for a radical change to police policy, including reducing budgets, but top Democrats in Congress and President Joe Biden do not agree with them.
The United States “has got to have police officers,” House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., told CNN’s Don Lemon Tuesday. “This is not about policing. This is not about training. This is about recruiting. Who are we recruiting to be police officers? That to me is where the focus has got to go. We’ve got to have police officers.”
Clyburn, however, said he doesn’t think Tlaib’s comments will hurt Democrats’ efforts to pass police reform legislation.
“I think she’s expressing her frustrations and what she hears from her constituents, and I can understand that,” said Clyburn.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this week that Biden thinks police reform is a priority and he does think there is a “path forward” for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which has passed in the House.
However, she told reporters that the opinion Tlaib expressed in her tweet is “not the president’s view.”
“The president’s view is that there are necessary outdated reforms that should be put in place, that there is accountability that needs to happen, that the loss of life is far too high, that these families are suffering around the country, that the Black community is exhausted from the ongoing threats they feel,” Psaki told reporters.
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