As some Democratic lawmakers question the effectiveness of defunding and disbanding police departments across the United States, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) is slamming Democrats that entertain the idea. While taking part in the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing on policing practices, the Florida lawmaker denounced the thought of defunding the police, calling it a deadly campaign. In addition, during the hearing the lawmaker displayed tweets from activists that promoted what he believes is a radical agenda.
The congressman also asked the members of the witness panel to go on record and raise their hands if they agree with defunding the police, and none of the witnesses raised their hands.
Commenting on the individuals that have used the protests to incite violence, the Florida lawmaker asserted that these are the same people “my congressional colleagues are raising money to support.” He added that his Democratic congressional colleagues are “saying it’s not enough to only abolish police or prisons – we need to abolish race, abolish ICE, abolish the military, abolish the state, abolish the borders.” This, he pointed out at being ludicrous, questioning why “this is what our colleagues are raising money for.”
Since the Minneapolis city council announced that it would be disbanding police departments, the conversation made its way to the sunshine state as Florida Rep. Val Demings (D), a former police chief and a potential Vice Presidential pick for Joe Biden (D), called the idea of disbanding police departments a “thoughtful” one. Florida Rep. Gaetz’s comments also come at a time when the “Justice in Policing Act 2020” has been introduced by Democratic lawmakers, which has received some criticism for taking on an anti-police approach.