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Former President Barack Obama warned social justice activists that using “defund the police” messaging could derail their attempts for change. The primary goal of the movement, which was popularized in wake of the police killing of George Floyd , is to reallocate some funding away from police departments and into community programs.
In an interview on Snapchat released Wednesday, Mr. Obama told “Good Luck America” host Peter Hamby that the rhetoric could turn off people, rather than convince them be a part of it.
“If you believe, as I do, that we should be able reform the criminal justice system so that it’s not biased and treats everyone fairly, I guess you can use a snappy slogan like ‘defund the police’ but, you know, you lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you’re actually going to get the changes you want done,” Mr. Obama said.
“But if you instead say, ‘let’s reform the police department,’ so that everyone’s being treated fairly, divert young people from getting into crime, and if there’s a homeless guy, can maybe we send a mental health worker there instead of an armed unit … […]