Top Democrats, including President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, on Tuesday distanced themselves from calls to abolish police issued by members of the “Squad,” in response to the killing of 20-year-old black man Daunte Wright in Minnesota by a cop.
Asked Tuesday about Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s statement that policing “can’t be reformed” and should be abolished, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that it was “not the president’s view.”
Pelosi (D-CA), meanwhile, pushed back against Tlaib’s statement, reacting to Wright’s shooting.
She highlighted the need for police reforms at the federal level, pointing to such a bill the House passed in March in honor of George Floyd, who died May 25 after Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck during an arrest for more than nine minutes.
“As I painfully watched the trial of Derek Chauvin during Holy Week, I was grateful that the House had already passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act,” Pelosi said in a statement to Fox News. “This is all the more sad with the tragic killing of Daunte Wright this week.”
“Our legislation provides a solution to systemic racism and does not paint all law enforcement with the same brush,” she added.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also seemed to disagree, saying his focus is passing legislation to reform policing.
“Look, we all know we have to root out systemic bias in law enforcement and we feel the best way to do that is the Justice in Policing Act,” Schumer said.
Tlaib (D-Mich.) and fellow squad members Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) had issued statements calling out racial injustice in response to Wright’s death.
“It wasn’t an accident. Policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist. Daunte Wright was met with aggression & violence,” Tlaib wrote in a tweet Monday evening.
“I am done with those who condone government-funded murder. No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed,” she continued, reiterating her position that the police, as currently trained, cannot protect their communities and must be defunded and replaced.”
Pressley also said that policing was beyond repair.
“From slave patrols to traffic stops. We can’t reform this,” she wrote on Twitter.
Omar, meanwhile, tweeted that: “This violence is a basic part of police interactions with communities of color. It must stop.”
All three lawmakers have previously voiced their support for defunding the police.