What Does "Defunding the Police" Really Mean?

June 9, 2020


Photo by  AP Photo Matt York

With the Minneapolis City Council on the brink of defunding the city's police force, it's time to get a handle on what, exactly, that means. As Georgetown University law professor Christy Lopez writes in The Washington Post, it typically "does not mean zeroing out budgets for public safety," while "police abolition does not mean that police will disappear overnight--or perhaps ever." What these terms do mean, she says, is "shrinking the scope of police responsibilities and shifting most of what government does to keep us safe to entities that are better equipped to meet that need. It means investing more in mental-health care and housing, and expanding the use of community mediation and violence interruption programs."