On Sunday, former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang proposed an approach to deal with the police misconduct that has sparked riots across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
“There are 18,000 police departments in the US,” Yang tweeted.
“How is reform possible? One approach would be a new George Floyd Police Misconduct division of the DOJ with a budget of $6 billion a year. Hire thousands of federal agents to investigate police misconduct. Have Val Demings run it.”
Demings, a former police officer and Orlando Police chief, is currently being vetted as a candidate for the administration of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who Yang has endorsed. As reported by NBC News, Demings recently criticized the actions of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of murdering Floyd by asphyxiation.
“When an officer engages in stupid, heartless and reckless behavior, their actions can either take a life or change a life forever,” she wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.
“Bad decisions can bring irrevocable harm to the profession and tear down the relationships and trust between the police and the communities they serve.”
Alex S. Vitale, the author of The End of Policing and a sociology professor at Brooklyn College, pushed back on Yang’s suggestion of more investigations and linked to his op-ed in The Nation in which he argues for the defunding of the police. Vitale claimed that the deaths of Floyd and Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African American EMT who was killed after police officers crashed into her home, prove that police reforms have failed. The next step, Vitale says, is defunding the police.
“It is time for the federal government, major foundations, and local governments to stop trying to manage problems of poverty and racial discrimination by wasting millions of dollars on pointless and ineffective procedural reforms that merely provide cover for the expanded use of policing. “
Vitale argues for redirecting resources from the police departments into “community-based initiatives” that he claims can create the “real safety” and “security” that the violent, racist criminal justice system has failed to. Singer-songwriter John Legend echoed Vitale and suggested rerouting police funding into community needs like health care and universal basic income (UBI) — something Yang agreed was a good idea.
Yang’s presidential campaign centered around a UBI, and his non-profit, Humanity Forward, promotes the proposal and provides pilots of the program to citizens around the country. The non-profit recently received a $5,000,000 donation from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, which was invested into a program for $250 cash payments to 200,000 Americans affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
@HumanityForward @AndrewYang @jack THANK YOU SO MUCH! This is going to help repair the transmission/oil leak on my car! (And whatever else they find wrong with it ????) It broke down last week. Thank you! ????❤ #YangGangForever pic.twitter.com/nV6zwwJQsW
— Candi???????????????? (@candipuffs) May 30, 2020