In the weeks since protests against police brutality began in Minneapolis, calls to reform, defund or abolish the police have been escalating. Demands for reform or cuts to police budgets aren’t new among activists, but a pledge by the Minneapolis City Council to “dismantle” the police department is unprecedented. The mayors of Los Angeles and New York City have also announced that they would both divert city funds from police departments to social service budgets.
Practically speaking, what would it mean to “defund” the police? On Second Thought sat down with Cedric Alexander, former police chief of DeKalb County, and Michael Leo Owens, associate professor of political science at Emory University, to dissect the history and meaning behind the language of the protest movement.