Dem Rep. Ritchie Torres decries Defund the Police movement as ‘profoundly tone-deaf’

Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., is breaking with a large portion of Democrats in speaking out against the Defund the Police movement amid a drastic rise in crime in cities across the U.S. 

During a Saturday appearance on “CNN Newsroom,” Torres described the movement trumpeted by progressives, including the far-left “Squad,” as “profoundly tone-deaf,” and argued that Americans actually wanted “better policing” rather than an “out of touch” solution. 

Jim Acosta and Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y.

Jim Acosta and Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y.
(CNN screenshot )

BIDEN SAYS THE ANSWER ‘IS NOT TO DEFUND THE POLICE,’ BUT TO INVEST IN LAW ENFORCEMENT

“There’s been an explosion of gun violence and calling for the police department to be defunded during an outbreak of gun violence is a little like calling for the fire department to be defunded during an outbreak of a fire,” Torres told host Jim Acosta, who noted that some Democrats actually agreed with him.

Torres also noted that the murder rate in New York City, part of which he represents in his Bronx district, was up 60% since 2017, while shootings were up 30% in January over the same period last year. 

“It comes off as profoundly tone-deaf and out of touch. The majority of Americans and a majority of Democrats are in favor of reforming, rather than abolishing, or even defunding, the police. What most Americans want is not under policing or over policing, but better policing. More constitutional and accountable and transparent policing,” he added. 

Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., listen during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 15, 2019.

Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., listen during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 15, 2019.
(Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

‘SQUAD,’ DEMS MUM ON POLICE FUNDING AS CRIME CONTINUES TO RISE IN MAJOR CITIES

Torres went on to call for stricter federal gun control legislation and declared that “there would be no gun violence without guns.” He then claimed that there was no evidence “over policing” led to increased public safety.

“So what we need is not aggressive, abusive policing. What we need is precision policing combined with reinvestments in underserved communities,” he said.

A sharp divide amongst Democrats has formed over how to address issues of crime and policing within America’s cities as a number have begun speaking out against the controversial movement. Progressives have remained largely silent after being the most vocal in backing the now-unthinkable calls of left-wing activists to rid America’s cities of police.

Despite calls to defund police departments, members of the “Squad” spent a combined $325,000 on private security in 2021, with Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who called the Minneapolis Police Department “rotten to the root” spending over $30,000, and Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., spending approximately $200,000.

Demonstrators protest the death of a Black man, Daniel Prude, in police custody in Rochester, New York, on Sept. 6, 2020.

Demonstrators protest the death of a Black man, Daniel Prude, in police custody in Rochester, New York, on Sept. 6, 2020.
(Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

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President Biden declared that defunding the police was not the answer during a trip to New York City last week focused on addressing its crime wave. He instead argued that police departments needed more investment.

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