Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender claimed Monday that calling the police for help in an emergency “comes from a place of privilege.”
Bender appeared on CNN’s “New Day” after being part of her city council’s decision to disband the Minneapolis Police Department in the wake of George Floyd’s death two weeks earlier. Floyd died after former police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for several minutes after he lost consciousness. (RELATED: ‘Veto-Proof Majority’ — Minneapolis City Council Pledges To ‘Dismantle’ Police Department)
Host Alisyn Camerota began the segment by clarifying that the council’s intent was to “dismantle” the police department rather than simply implement reforms. “I mean, activists who support this are calling this a police-free future,” she said.
Bender responded by saying that issues like housing and health care would be a better investment than continuing to fund the police department. “I know the statement was bold and I stand by that bold statement, but the work ahead of us will be long, it will include every member of our community. It has to,” she explained.
“Do you understand that the word ‘dismantle’ or ‘police-free’ also makes some people nervous, for instance. What if in the middle of night my home is broken into. Who do I call?” Camerota pressed.
“Yes, I hear that loud and clear from a lot of my neighbors,” Bender replied. “And I know — and myself, too, and I know that that comes from a place of privilege.”
Bender went on to argue that outside of that “privilege” was a world where calling the police actually caused more harm than not calling them.
“On a political point, as a Democrat, are you worried that you have just handed President Trump a great talking point or slogan or battle cry for his reelection to be able to say, ‘See, Democrats want to get rid of your police. First they come to take away your guns,’ as he says. ‘Now they’re taking away your police officers.’ Does that concern you?” Camerota asked.
Bender concluded by saying that fear of political consequences was not a good reason not to act, saying, “You know, that’s why I said at the beginning that it starts with telling the truth. And I think we’ve been afraid of a lot of things, of those political dynamics of what would happen in our city, you know, to have our police force hearing these kinds of words … So the efforts we have taken so far to stop this, to make sure no one is killed in this way have not worked. So our statement is to try something new.”