SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy describes George Floyd’s death at the hands of police as tragic and says it “should not have occurred.”
But the Louisiana Republican does not agree with defunding police.
“One of the stupidest proposals to come out of this though is the idea of defunding the police."
The Defund the Police movement aims to divest money from local and state police budgets and reinvest it into communities, mental health services and social service programs.
“No one would be more happy to defund the police than rapists and robbers," Cassidy added. "So unless we want rapists and robbers to rule the streets, then we need to fund the police.”
Instead, he said, the country should focus on police reform.
“What we have been doing in criminal justice reform is putting dollars toward mental health, where jails can take care of the mentally ill before they are judicated, keeping their Medicaid to pay for their medications," Cassidy explained.
Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have created their own police reforms bills. While the GOP proposal most likely will not be revealed until next week, Democrats have unveiled a measure that includes reforms to make it easier to prosecute police officers for misconduct in civil court and to create a National Police Misconduct Registry.
“Yeah, there are some revisions in there. What I am concerned about is the federalization of how law enforcement is implemented," Cassidy said.
After speaking with Louisiana law enforcement agencies, he said he prefers that individual agencies have the opportunity to implement changes that best benefits their communities. “So we are trying to keep that local focus with the external influence to bring about the reform.”
Cassidy also addressed another controversial topic: the removal of Confederate statues and memorials throughout the South, as well as talk of renaming military bases that currently are named after Confederate generals.
“I will tell you we have to be aware of cancel culture in which we no longer allow ourselves to be troubled by that which was once apart of our culture just because we don’t want to think about it."
Cassidy said cities can remove them if they chose do so though. “Cities have that right and values in a city change. So if a city decides their values reflect something different than those of those who did the original naming, that’s their right.
"I will say, though, there is a slippery slope where we go into a cancel culture where we make ourselves feel better by canceling out those that we do not want to think of,” Cassidy said.