Attorney General nominee Judge Merrick Garland said Monday he doesn’t support defunding the police.
“President Biden has said he doesn’t support defunding the police and neither do I,” he said during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“We saw how difficult the lives of police officers were in the body cam videos we saw when they were defending the Capitol,” Judge Garland continued, referencing the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Several high-profile deaths of unarmed Black men and women at the hands of local police last year ignited protests against brutality and calls for abolishing or defunding police departments.
Some Democrats have pushed for reviews of local police budgets, demanding the diversion of funds to social and mental health services.
At a town hall last week, Mr. Biden said he would put more money into local policing.
Judge Garland voiced support for that decision but also said that police are not trained to handle certain mental health calls, including those of suicidal individuals.
“I do believe, and believe [Mr. Biden] does as well, that we do need to put resources into alternative ways of confronting some actors, particularly those who are mentally ill and those who are suicidal, so that police officers [aren’t doing] jobs that they are not trained for and, from what I understand, don’t want to do,” he said.
“So those resources need to go to mental health professionals and others in the community so police can do the job they trained for,” Judge Garland continued.
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