The “defund the police” movement isn’t going to go away easily, not as long as there are House Democrats ready to vilify police at every turn.
Reps. Cori Bush (D-MO) and Summer Lee (D-PA) organized a meeting with Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta to discuss “police reform.” Gupta has argued that “structural racism is a feature of every American institution,” including police departments, and that the Justice Department should involve itself more in local policing. She is an anti-police activist who is now the third-highest-ranking person at the Department of Justice.
Bush’s track record on policing is quite clear. She is a “defund the police” activist who pays millions to cover her own private security. (One of her security guards is now her husband, which is a whole different can of worms.) Bush has told people to “suck it up” that she gets private security while she tries to defund their police departments, because the peasants don’t deserve the same level of protection that she gets as a member of Congress.
As for Lee, her anti-police advocacy rests on the local case of Antwon Rose Jr. Rose was shot while fleeing from police who had pulled over him and another man on suspicion of a drive-by shooting. Rose had gunshot residue on his hands and a firearm under the seat he fled from, and he was identified by the shooting victim as the man who shot him.
In other words, Lee’s anti-police sentiment stems from sympathy for a likely criminal, just as Bush’s advocacy began with the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, after he tried to grab a police officer’s gun.
A “police reform” conversation between Gupta, Bush, and Lee is a defunding conversation. The trio doesn’t exactly hold a grounded, practical view of policing, after all. And this means that the “defund the police” movement that has been rejected in several major cities as crime has surged is living on among the House Democratic Caucus and in President Joe Biden’s administration.
The position is only going to get stronger with the Democratic Party’s present trajectory. Bush is part of “the Squad” of progressive House members that are hyped as the future of the party, and Gupta is a product of the diversity, equity, and inclusion racial obsession that the party has embraced. The movement to defund police departments is not going away — it is simply being reworked by its biggest supporters for another push.