On Thursday, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez answered a question about what America would look like with the police defunded and posted her response to her Instagram stories, Breitbart reported.
“The good news is that it actually doesn’t take a ton of imagination,” she said. “It looks like a suburb. Affluent white communities already live in a world where they choose to fund youth, health, housing, etc more than they fund police.”
According to Ocasio-Cortez, such communities have lower crime rates not because of an increase in policing but due to a wealth of resources that can be used to support a “healthy society” and reduce crime. She claimed that affluent white communities “bend over backwards [sic]” to provide alternatives to incarceration — such as rehab or community service — to protect the future of individuals in the community.
The progressive firebrand also argued that reducing police budgets will not have a significant effect on law enforcement officers. Notably, Ocasio-Cortez said that one possible method of defunding the police is to stop replacing retiring officers with new ones.
“Another place to trim is stocking up on militarization, weaponry, and the use and development of harmful technology like facial recognition in our subway systems and public spaces.”
Police departments have come under scrutiny following the death of George Floyd, which came after he was subdued by former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin. While President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have opposed defunding reforms, others believe they are necessary to ensure departments are kept accountable and citizens are rehabilitated.
Ocasio-Cortez has been at the forefront of the movement to defund the police. As reported by the Washington Examiner, the congresswoman has pushed for funds to be diverted from police departments into social programs, which she claims could act as preventatives for crime and “social discord.”
In particular, Ocasio-Cortez claimed that the militarization of the police force is a problem that defunding could act to rectify.
“It’s about these police precincts that have tanks, that have military weaponry, and frankly have a degree of… of material resources and warlike weaponry,” she said during a Wednesday appearance on Good Morning America.
Others have echoed Ocasio-Cortez’s calls for investment into social programs. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristoff pointed to Portugal’s success with curbing drug addiction by decriminalizing drugs and focusing on social services for people struggling with addiction.
Author Dexter Voisin also argued against the militarization of the police and, like Ocasio-Cortez, suggested that defunding could prevent this process.