Minneapolis City Council president Lisa Bender went viral on Monday morning when she told CNN that calling the police when your home is broken into “comes from a place of privilege,” before being lampooned by everyone from Sen. Ted Cruz to Donald Trump Jr.
Bender brought some attention to CNN’s low-rated morning show “New Day” when she joined Alisyn Camerota to discuss her goal of dismantling the Minneapolis police department in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death while in police custody.
Bender said the police are not keeping everyone safe, and the first step of fixing the problem is to admit the current system isn’t working. Bender has said she can imagine a future without police, and has urged money to be redirected from a “militarized police force” to things she feels would greater benefit the community.
“Do you understand that the word dismantle, or police-free, also makes some people nervous, for instance, what if, in the middle of the night, my home is broken into,” Camerota asked. “Who do I call?”
“Yes, I mean I hear that loud and clear from a lot of my neighbors, and myself, too, and I know that that comes from a place of privilege,” Bender responded. “For those of us for whom the system is working, I think we need to step back and imagine what it would feel like to already live in that reality where calling the police may mean more harm is done.”
Bender said “in the very immediate, we have to lean into whatever changes we can make” to the existing police department.
“We’ve done an analysis of all the reasons people call 911, and I’ve looked at ways we can shift the response away from armed police officers into a more appropriate response for mental health calls, for some domestic violence calls, for health-related issues,” Bender said.
The video picked up more than 1.7 million views before noon ET.
Many people took to Twitter with thoughts on Bender’s comment:
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on Sunday reiterated that he doesn’t support abolishing the city’s police force, hours after a veto-proof majority of members of the Minneapolis City Council said they want to take that drastic step.
Frey, who ordered a police station to evacuate as rioters burned it to the ground last month, was shouted down by a large gathering of demonstrators near his home on Saturday when he defied their demands to shutter the city’s police forces entirely.
Nationally, efforts to defund the police have been broadly unpopular, with only about 20 percent of Americans favoring reductions in police forces. Citing publicly available data, commentators have asserted that the very idea of systemic racism by police is questionable.
Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.