Pence promises law enforcement reform but asserts ‘we’re not going to defund the police’

As protests and demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality continue, the Trump administration is preparing to announce a series of proposed policing reforms.

In remarks this week, however, Vice President Mike Pence clarified that the White House plan will not reflect growing calls to defund law enforcement agencies.

“We’re going to lead”

“Now, every American cherishes our First Amendment rights,” he said. “And we respect the concerns and freedoms of peaceful protesters. And I want to promise each one of you that … we’re going to have ears to hear, we’re going to learn, and we’re going to lead. But we’re not going to defund the police.”

Pence’s comments came on Friday during a speech in Sarver, Pennsylvania, focused primarily on efforts to restart the economy after coronavirus shutdowns. He used some of his time to address the death of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that erupted in response.

“Let me say from my heart: What happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis was a tragedy,” the vice president said. “It shocked the conscience of the nation. And President Trump has made it clear: Justice will be served.”

Describing Floyd’s death as inexcusable, Pence went on to assert that there is “no excuse for rioting and looting and the violence that ensued here in Pittsburgh and around the country.”

He broadly described a series of reforms the Trump administration is preparing to unveil.

“More resources for training”

“As the President announced yesterday, we’re in the process of — of drafting executive action that will encourage police departments nationwide to meet the highest standards in the use of force, to have more resources for training and de-escalation,” Pence said.

He extended his comments on the topic to include a pitch for black voters to consider voting for Trump’s re-election in November, describing the incumbent administration as interested in finding ways to “expand jobs and opportunities and education excellence for African-American families and all the families of our major cities.”

The president has also weighed in on the debate over police conduct, indicating that he would be willing to consider getting rid of the chokehold as a form of restraint under most circumstances. He has also dismissed the idea of defunding police agencies across the nation.

“There won’t be defunding,” Trump said on Monday. “There won’t be dismantling of our police, and there’s not going to be any disbanding of our police. Our police have been letting us live in peace, and we want to make sure we don’t have any bad actors in there.”

As protests continue in every corner of the nation despite an ongoing pandemic, it is clear that the Trump administration is listening to the demand for police reform.

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