“Defund the Police” Movement – What You Need to Know

The number of Americans supporting the redistribution of police department funding has reduced since August 2020 after several protests against police brutality and racial injustice occurred across the country during Summer 2020.

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The movement started after Black Lives Matter protestors and activists called to defund the police after unarmed Black Americans, such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, were killed by police officers. Through the movement, many activists behind the slogan intended for police budgets to be allocated to community social programs, so police officers aren’t required to take on roles better suited to social workers as often.

A recently-held USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll revealed that only 18% of respondents supported the “defund the police” movement, while 58% opposed it. Only 28% of Black Americans and 34% of Democrats favor the movement, while 67% of white Americans and 84% of Republicans were likely to oppose it. When asked if police should be abolished or eliminated, 67% of respondents opposed it, including a majority of Democrats and Black Americans.

The poll was conducted between March 1 and March 2 with 1,165 Americans as samples. Lesser respondents opposed the idea of redirecting police funds to social programs, though 57% of them still weren’t in favor of it. Forty-three percent support the idea, which is a slight decline from August when 53% were in opposition, and 47% were in favor of reallocating police funds. One of the respondents believes people didn’t fully understand the concept of defunding the police. About this, he said, “I think it’s misguided. I don’t think anybody wants to defund the police. I think we might want to restructure how the police budget is spent, better training, better analysis of the people who become police, and more efforts towards community involvement.”

Support for redistributing funds is divided by the race of voters. While 63% of Black Americans favor distributing some part of police funds to social programs, only 35% of white voters support the same. Most white respondents supported funding the police fully, with 65% of them and 37% of Black voters saying police budgets should remain unchanged.