CNN host Jake Tapper stumped Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) over her insistence to disband and defund the Minneapolis Police Department, which is the police department in her district.
Omar asserted that the Minneapolis Police Department is “rotten to the root” because the death of George Floyd demonstrated how police officers “can’t continue to be judge, jury, and executioner.” She added that it is now the community’s responsibility to “come together to reimagine what public safety should look like.”
Tapper pressed her on specifics behind her support for unspecified community-based policing reform, “What takes its place, and — if you could just decree what takes its place? Who investigates crimes? Who arrests criminals? What happens?”
The congresswoman did not directly answer Tapper’s question and delegated the responsibility to the Minneapolis community, blaming the police department for letting “half of the homicides… go unsolved.” Tapper noted that her and other like-minded politicians were “not saying that there’s nothing that takes its place.” But Tapper’s question remained unanswered after he made several attempts to clarify Omar’s advocacy for community-based policing.
Their exchanged demonstrated the complexity of policing and public safety in light of defunding and disbanding a police department. Omar and other politicians pushed for disbanding police departments and replacing them with a community-based approach, but they lacked specific details on how it would balance rule of law, justice, equal treatment, and fairness.
Tapper’s question exposed the lack of planning and foresight by those supporting the disbanding of police departments. Omar and other advocates have not publicly articulated nor outlined an entity that would replace a police department’s responsibilities.