Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders said Wednesday evening that he disagreed with Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a fellow progressive, after she called for “no more policing, incarceration, and militarization” in the wake of Daunte Wright’s fatal encounter with police in Minnesota.
“No I don’t,” Sanders told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” when asked if he agreed with Tlaib’s message.
“I think that what we need to do is to understand that there needs to be major, major police reform all across this country. We are tired of seeing the same thing, week after week and year after year. We do not want to see innocent African Americans shot in cold blood,” Sanders said.
“So I think that is an area that needs significant amount of work,” the Vermont senator continued. “And I hope that Congress begins to work on that immediately.
His comments come after Tlaib said policing cannot be reformed and argued that law enforcement systems in the US are “inherently & intentionally racist.” “No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed,” she wrote in a tweet Monday.
Wright was shot and killed by a police officer Sunday during a routine traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. The shooting happened about 10 miles from where former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for the killing of another Black man, George Floyd.
While some Democrats, like Tlaib, have joined calls for a radical shift in police policy, including a reduction in police budgets, top congressional Democrats and President Joe Biden have not supported calls to “defund the police.”
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn on Tuesday told CNN’s Don Lemon the US has “got to have police officers.”
“This is not about policing. This is not about training. This is about recruiting. Who are we recruiting to be police officers? That to me is where the focus has got to go. We’ve got to have police officers,” Clyburn said.
Pressed Tuesday if Tlaib’s message could harm the Democratic effort to pass police reform legislation, Clyburn responded, “No.”
“I think she’s expressing her frustrations and what she hears from her constituents, ” he said. “And I can understand that.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters earlier this week that Biden views police reform as a “priority” and believes “there is a path forward” with the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which has passed the House but faces an uncertain future in the Senate.