John Fetterman says defunding the police ‘was always absurd’

John Fetterman

Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman.AP Photo/Matt Rourke

  • John Fetterman said in a recent interview that defunding the police “was always absurd.”

  • While speaking with semaphores, he spoke of maintaining positive relationships with law enforcement.

  • “They’re the most important tool to make the street safer,” the Senate hopeful said of the police.

Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman in an interview published on Tuesday said the concept of defunding the police “was always absurd.”

During an interview with the newly-launched Semaphore news platform, Fetterman told political reporter David Weigel that he did not believe in cutting back on law enforcement, arguing that having fewer police on the streets would only lead to increased crime rates.

“It was always absurd to defund the police,” Fetterman said. “I’ve never believed that was ever the case. And anyone that said that – yeah, of course, it’s just wrong. From my own experience I’d say, anytime you have fewer police, you’re going to have more crime.”

When asked about Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke’s desire to take a look at the constitutionality of some stop-and-frisk policies, Fetterman spoke of the importance of making sure any policy decisions would not be “abused.”

“I just feel that police are always going to be a critical part of the conversation, and they are critical to being successful. They’re the most important tool to make the street safer,” he said.

He continued: “I think that’s at the core of it; having them not be treated in a way that’s antagonistic. That’s the way I treated that when I was in charge of a police department for 14 years and creating a good relationship with the community and figuring out what everybody agrees is an appropriate tactic versus one that’s abused.”

Fetterman said that a key to success for police departments was for them to work effectively with the communities that they serve — with the concerns of citizens in mind.

“The most effective recipe is a police department that understands that they have to do what they need to do in terms of making sure things be safer, but not at the expense of the community feeling that they’re over-policed,” he told Weigel. “I think it’s critical in any conversation to really begin to beat back the crime.”

Fetterman, who served as the major of the borough of Braddock from 2006 to 2019, is well known for having tattooed the dates of murders that occurred while he was in office. (He was elected lieutenant governor in 2018 on a ticket with Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.)

But national Republicans have sought to seize of the issue of crime to attack Democratic candidates in races across the country, fueled by a small segment of the party that has called for defunding police departments after the death of George Floyd while in custody of the Minneapolis police in May 2020.

Most Democrats — including President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — have rejected the concept of defunding police departments.

Biden refuted such a stance during his State of the Union earlier this year, stating that lawmakers should “fund the police,” and has repeatedly spoke of his longstanding support for law enforcement.

The FBI earlier this month announced that there was a 4.3% increase in homicides in 2021 — from 22,000 to 22,900 — but the data was incomplete.

At the same time, the agency said there was a decrease in the number of violent crimes overall due to a decline in the number of robberies.

Fetterman is running against Republican Mehmet Oz in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country. The open seat represents one of the Democratic Party’s best chances to flip a seat from the GOP.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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