Stacey Abrams: 'False' to say police departments either need to be defunded or reformed

Former Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said Sunday that the idea that a choice must be made between defunding police and reforming departments is “false.”  

Abrams, a reported contender to be presumptive presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenHaiti prime minister warns inequality will cause migration to continue Pelosi: House must pass 3 major pieces of spending legislation this week Erdoğan says Turkey plans to buy another Russian defense system MORE’s running mate, told ABC’s “This Week” that the country needs “reformation of how police officers do their jobs” and “transformation in how we view the role of law enforcement.”

“We are being drawn into a false choice idea,” Abrams said when asked about choosing between reforming police departments or defunding them.

“The reality is we need two things,” she said. 

“We’ll use different language to describe it, but fundamentally, we must have reformation and transformation,” she added later. 

Abrams said the deaths of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky. and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia demonstrate the need for reforms in excessive force tactics, no-knock warrants and citizen arrest laws, respectively.

She also said there is “legitimacy” to the “anger” and “outrage” that demonstrators displayed after Brooks’s death in Atlanta and said activists are calling for something to “actually” be done. 

The “Defund the Police” movement arose out of the protests against the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody among other cases of alleged police brutality against minority populations. These activists call for transferring police funding into social services to help these communities. 

Biden’s campaign has announced that he is against defunding the police, but backed the “urgent need for reform.” 

Last week, Abrams told “The Late Show with Steven Colbert” that she had not received any calls from the Biden campaign as it began its vetting process for a vice presidential candidate. But sources have told The New York Times that she is still in the running for a spot on the Democratic ticket.

--This report was updated at 1:10 p.m.