Amnon Jakony (Jay Arts Holdings)
Former President Barack Obama wants Americans to “reimagine policing” after two new incidents propelled the issue of police tactics and officer-involved fatal shootings back into national headlines.
What is the background?
Over the weekend, news broke that an Army officer had filed a lawsuit against police officers in Windsor, Virginia, after they “drew their guns, pointed them at him and used a slang term to suggest he was facing execution before pepper-spraying him and knocking him to the ground” during a traffic stop in December, the Associated Press reported.
One of those police officers, Joe Gutierrez, was fired Monday.
Meanwhile, 20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot and killed by police on Sunday in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Law enforcement said the officer who killed Wright did so accidentally, discharging her firearm when she meant to draw her Taser.
That officer has since resigned.
What did Obama say?
Obama said Wright’s untimely death is the impetus for Americans to “reimagine policing and public safety.”
Our hearts are heavy over yet another shooting of a Black man, Daunte Wright, at the hands of police. The fact that this could happen even as the city of Minneapolis is going through the trial of Derek Chauvin and reliving the heart-wrenching murder of George Floyd indicates not just how important it is to conduct a full and transparent investigation, but also just how badly we need to reimagine policing and public safety in this country.
Michelle and I grieve alongside the Wright family for their loss. We empathize with the pain that Black mothers, fathers, and children are feeling after yet another senseless tragedy. And we will continue to work with all fair-minded Americans to confront historical inequities and bring about nationwide changes that are so long overdue.
Our hearts are heavy over yet another shooting of a Black man, Daunte Wright, at the hands of police. It’s importan… https://t.co/Ou8gpf1Rhy
— Barack Obama (@Barack Obama)1618324383.0
What are other Democrats saying?
Far-left Democrats agree with Obama.
Recycling the “defund the police” narrative that gained momentum after George Floyd’s death last year — only to fizzle out when violent crime skyrocketed in major U.S. cities — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), among others, are calling for radical policing reforms.
“Daunte Wright’s killing was not a random, disconnected ‘accident’ — it was the repeated outcome of an indefensible system that grants impunity for state violence, rewards it w/ endlessly growing budgets at the cost of community investment, & targets those who question that order,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Cameras, chokehold bans, ‘retraining’ funds, and similar reform measures do not ultimately solve what is a systemic problem. That system will find a way — killings happen on camera, people are killed in other ways, retraining grows $ while often substituting for deeper measures.”
Cameras, chokehold bans, “retraining” funds, and similar reform measures do not ultimately solve what is a systemic… https://t.co/NkUbY5ghtO
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1618355880.0
“It wasn’t an accident. Policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist. Daunte Wright was met with aggression & violence,” Tlaib said. “I am done with those who condone government funded murder. No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed.”
It wasn’t an accident. Policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist.
Daunte Wright was met with a… https://t.co/dw14UGo1f4
— Rashida Tlaib (@Rashida Tlaib)1618268726.0
Moderate Democrats, however, disagree with their colleagues.
Reps. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) and Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) specifically attributed anti-police rhetoric for significant losses that Democrats saw in 2020, which almost caused them to lose their majority in the House.
Peters predicted in February that Democrats will lose badly in 2022 if they employ similar campaign messages, and Spanberger, in a post-2020 election conference call, agreed.
“If we run this race again we will get f***ing torn apart again in 2022,” Spanberger predicted last November.