Sen. Tim Scott accused Democrats of collapsing law enforcement reform negotiations last week because they want to defund police departments.
"We said simply this: 'I'm not going to participate in reducing funding for the police after we saw a major city after major city defund the police.' Many provisions in this bill that he wanted me to agree to limited or reduced funding for the police, " the Black South Carolina Republican said in an interview on CBS’ Face The Nation that aired Sunday (Sept. 26).
New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker, who has been Scott’s negotiating partner, dismissed the accusation.
"This is a bill that would have had millions of dollars for police departments ... millions of dollars more, additional dollars, because we want to help officers with mental health issues. We want to collect more data so we should give more resources," Booker told Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union. CNN's State of the Union.
According to The New York Times, the two parties began a renewed effort to negotiate police reform legislation in April, following the guilty verdict against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin who murdered George Floyd in 2020.
Their efforts collapsed Wednesday (Sept. 22). Several issues created an impasse, including whether to change criminal and civil penalties to facilitate punishing police misconduct.
Scott’s “defund the police” remarks have become a political talking point for Republicans who want to portray Democrats as soft on crime and a threat to law and order.
In the aftermath of Floyd’s murder. There were calls to reform policing, as “defunding the police became a rallying crime of some protesters. That prompted some cities to enact measures to reallocate police department funding to funding for things like mental health programs, job training, housing and other programs that some lawmakers believed would improve communities and make them safer.