Sen. Bernie Sanders, who failed in his bid for the Deomcratic presidential nomination, rejected dismantling police departments, as Minneapolis seems poised to do, in an interview with The New Yorker published on Tuesday.
"There’s no city in the world that does not have police departments. What you need are — I didn’t call for more money for police departments. I called for police departments that have well-educated, well-trained, well-paid professionals," Sanders told The New Yorker. "Anyone who thinks that we should abolish all police departments in America, I don’t agree."
Sanders, an independent from Vermont, wants to "redefine" police departments because officers often deal with people struggling with issues like mental illness or addiction that "should be dealt with by mental-health professionals."
"As his criminal justice proposal made clear months ago, Vice President Biden does not believe that police should be defunded," a Biden campaign spokesperson said on Monday. "He hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change, and is driven to ensure that justice is done and that we put a stop to this terrible pain."
Sanders announced endorsements for several progressive congressional candidates on Tuesday, including New York's Samelys Lopez, who has repeatedly called for defunding police departments.
"Police do not value black lives or the lives of essential workers," Lopez wrote on Twitter last week. "We must #DefundThePolice and reinvest in social & housing programs for Black communities."
Sanders also endorsed Cori Bush, a Missouri candidate who has called for defunding the police.