Tim Scott: Police Reform Talks Collapsed Because Democrats Want to Defund Police

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said he believes months-long negotiations on police reform broke down this week because Democratic lawmakers called for slashing funding to law enforcement.

“We said simply this. ‘I’m not going to participate in reducing funding for the police after we saw a major city after major city defund the police,’” the Republican senator told CBS’s Face the Nation. “Many provisions in this bill [Democrats] wanted me to agree to limited or reduced funding for the police.”

“We want the best wearing the badge, and we want the vulnerable protected,” Scott added. “So when you tie funding losses in this legislation, you should expect an allergic reaction from me.”

Talks of police reform legislation emerged in the wake of the May 2020 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis by former police officer Derek Chauvin.

Proponents of “defund the police” argue that governments should spend less on law enforcement and more on social services in an attempt to address perceived racism. The movement echoed throughout Black Lives Matter demonstrations last summer following the deaths of Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

Sen. Scott and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) have for months worked with Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) on the legislation that would address what they say are areas of policing that need changed. But the trio announced this week that negotiations had stalled.

“We were not making progress. In fact, recent back and forth with paper showed me that we were actually moving away from it,” Booker told reporters in Washington.

“Unfortunately, even with this law enforcement support and further compromises we offered, there was still too wide a gulf with our negotiating partners and we faced significant obstacles to securing a bipartisan deal,” the Democrat said in a separate statement.

CBS reported that it had obtained a document detailing Booker’s “minimum requirements” for police reform, including prohibiting no-knock warrants and chokeholds. It also said that departments would have to implement certain reforms in order to remain eligible for types of grants, according to the news outlet.

“We have about a billion dollars in grant money that goes to police,” Scott told host Margaret Brennan. “When you start saying, ‘In order to receive those dollars, you must do A, B and C. And if you don’t do a B and C, you literally lose eligibility for the two major pots of money … when you tell local law enforcement agencies that you are ineligible for money, that’s defunding the police, there’s no way to spin that.”

Since the civil unrest, protests, and riots that took place nationwide last summer, violent crime has surged in a number of major cities, prompting several politicians who formerly backed the “defund the police” movement to publicly try to distance themselves from it. A poll conducted in May this year showed that only 18 percent of respondents back defunding police departments.

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times