Protesters push for defunding of police, Detroit Chief says it's not going to happen

In the wake of George Floyd's death at the hands of police, some cities have made moves to defund the police department. That includes Minneapolis and the defund the police movements are gaining steam nationwide.

After Floyd's protesters across the country made their voices heard and were often met with tear gas or pepper spray. Now those same protesters are demanding law enforcement's funds be pulled - and it's starting to happen.

Protesters in Detroit are calling for the same thing. One of the loudest voices is organizer Tristan Taylor who says the police are not working on behalf of residents.

"Let's start with that - actually cutting funds to DPD, to these police departments, and reallocating those dollars," Taylor said. "Right now, what we know, is that the operations of DPD, at least in general, have nothing to do with what the community wants."

Minneapolis' city council voted Sunday to not only defund but to dismantle the city's police department. The move is very unlikely to become official as it would require a change to the city's charter to do so. New York and Los Angeles have also both voted to defund the departments and use those funds elsewhere. 

Taylor wants Detroit's funding for facial recognition and certain weapons to be revoked.

"Military-grade weaponry of any kind - that's not what safe policing should be about," he said. "We don't have time or resources to waste on tanks."

He and a small group of organizers will meet with Mayor Mike Duggan and Chief James Craig on Tuesday. Craig said Monday that the city has been through this before he was named chief.

"I think the whole conversation surrounding defunding really has more to do reexamining policing; how do you police?" Craig said.  "They got 10% of their pay taken. That's defunding. And they know it well it wasn't a good time."

Craig dismissed the idea of dismantling a police department and reassured his officers that cuts in the department should not be a concern.

"We talked about that issue, it came up. And I reassured them that's not a conversation here in Detroit. Detroiter's want police, they want professional police. So we move on from it," Craig said.