Biden in NYC: ‘The answer is not to defund the police’

President Biden on Thursday said he is against defunding the police while promoting the administration’s efforts to curb gun violence in New York City. 

“Mayor Adams, you and I agree, the answer is not to abandon our streets, that’s not the answer,” he said, referring to New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D).

“The answer is to come together, police and communities, building trust and making us all safer. The answer is not to defund the police, it’s to give you the tools, the training, the funding to be partners, to be protectors and the community needs you, know the community,” Biden added in remarks at One Police Plaza, the headquarters of the NYPD in Lower Manhattan. 

He called for increased funding for community policing and for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the U.S. Marshalls office, arguing that monetary support will help reduce violence.

“We’re not about defunding, we’re about funding and providing the additional services you need beyond someone with a gun strapped to their shoulder,” he said.

The president added that there should be more social workers and mental health workers working with police. 

“We need more people who when you’re called on these scenes and someone’s about to jump off a roof, there’s not just someone standing there with a weapon, it’s also someone who knows how to talk to people, talk them down,” he said.

“We can’t expect you to do every single solitary thing that needs to be done to keep a community safe,” said added, referring to police.

Biden’s proposed budget, which he has urged Congress to pass, calls for an increase in funding for local law enforcement that would boost community policing.

Biden’s visit follows multiple police fatalities in New York City this year. Two officers, Wilbert Mora and Jason Riversa, were recently killed in Harlem while responding to a domestic disturbance call.

The White House has worked to push back on accusations that Biden is in favor of defunding the police, a popular progressive movement that conservatives have attempted to tie Biden to. 

Biden was joined on his visit to New York by Attorney General Merrick Garland, as well as Adams, New York Gov. Hochul (D) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

The Biden administration earlier announced measures to cut down on gun violence, including bringing federal charges against individuals who use ghost guns, which are made from kits and are difficult to track.

Garland is also directing U.S. attorneys to prioritize federal prosecutions of those who illegally sell or transfer firearms that end up being used in violent crimes and announced a new initiative seeking to curb drug-related violence and overdose deaths.

Tags Joe Biden Kirsten Gillibrand Merrick Garland
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