- The Washington Times - Monday, June 8, 2020

The president of the Minneapolis City Council doesn’t merely want to disband the current department — she wants a “police-free future.”

Lisa Bender said Monday in an appearance on “Cuomo Prime Time” that to her, “defund the police” doesn’t mean having a smaller budget or a reconstituted department.

“I think the idea of having a police-free future is very aspirational,” she said to CNN host Christopher Cuomo noting that the idea sounds utopian

Mr. Cuomo told her that “when you say you see someday being police-free that sounds aspirational, a utopian concept where nobody’s committing any crime … There’s gonna have to be good men and women willing to step up to keep people safe.”

But Ms. Bender wasn’t backing off.

“I am willing to stand with community members who are asking us to think of that as the goal,” she said.

In an earlier interview on CNN, Ms. Bender argued the police really aren’t necessary because if you’re calling 911 to report a home invasion, and expect the police to help, you may be coming from a “place of privilege.”

Ms. Bender said those alarmed about the council’s proposal to dismantle the police department may need to check their privilege in an interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota.

“Do you understand that the word ‘dismantle,’ or ‘police-free’ also makes some people nervous, for instance? What if in the middle of the night, my home is broken into? Who do I call?” asked Ms. Camerota.

Ms. Bender replied that some people, presumably racial minorities, fear that bringing in the police may do more harm than good.

“Yes, I mean, hear that loud and clear from a lot of my neighbors,” said Ms. Bender. “And I know — and myself, too — and I know that comes from a place of privilege. Because for those of us for whom the system is working, I think we need to step back and imagine what it would feel like to already live in that reality where calling the police may mean more harm is done.”

Her response drew a strong rebuke from Fox Nation’s Lara Logan, who was beaten and sexually assaulted while covering the Egyptian revolution for CBS News in 2011.

“I remember when I was being gang-raped & beaten by a mob in Egypt, would have been great to have a police force to call then,” tweeted Ms. Logan. “Would that have been my white privilege talking? I’ve stood against racism all my life, don’t have a racist bone in my body.”

Calls by Black Lives Matter and other groups to “defund the police” are on the rise in the aftermath of protests over 46-year-old George Floyd, who died May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The officer, Derek Chauvin, and the three other officers at the scene were fired and have been charged in Mr. Floyd’s murder.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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