07:48 GMT22 October 2020
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    Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said he was opposed to defunding police at last week's presidential debate, but Law Enforcement today pointed out he has previously supported "redirecting" police funding and "re-imagining" the role of law enforcement.

    A US police news website has become the latest law enforcement group to back US President Donald Trump's re-election campaign.

    An editorial on the strongly conservative-leaning Law Enforcement Today (LET) site on Tuesday cited Trump's vocal support for police during this years Black Lives Matter (BLM) unrest.

    "This year, for the first time, Law Enforcement Today is proud to make our first ever endorsement for president—Donald J. Trump," LET spokesman Kyle Reyes wrote. "From our perspective, there’s no other choice."

    Reyes contrasted Trump's "law and order" message with Democratic candidate Joe Biden's flip-flopping moves by Democratic-run city governments to de-fund police departments.

    "As cities across America suffered violent riots, the president was out there offering the full support of federal resources to put down the violent riots — all mayors and governors had to do was ask," he wrote.

    In June, Biden's campaign said the former vice-president "does not believe that police should be defunded," a statement he repeated in person during last week's presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio.

    But Reyes pointed to his statements in favour of "redirecting" funds or "re-imaging" policing in the US as part of a programme of reforms.

    "Biden supports cutting police funding. When an activist asked him if he supported efforts to 'redirect' police funding, Biden answered without hesitation, 'absolutely.'", Reyes wrote.

    And Reyes highlighted a July statement from the Unity Task Force of Biden's and Democratic left-winger Bernie Sanders's campaigns which included a call to "reimagine policing for the benefit and safety of the American people."

    He contrasted that with a quote from BLM co-founder Melina Abdullah, who said: “It’s important that as we say, ‘defund the police,’ we understand that it’s coupled with a reimagining of public safety.”

    "We are unapologetic for our support of law enforcement and are outraged by the way police are being treated in the wake of one police officer’s egregious conduct," Reyes wrote in an apparent reference to the death of black man George Floyd on 25 May as Minneapolis police office Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck.

    The recommendations of the Unity Task Force also included ending the qualified immunity that law enforcement agencies enjoy against lawsuits, restricting police powers to confiscate assets from criminals and ending the transfer of surplus military equipment to police departments.

    Reyes said those transfers include body armour that police departments may otherwise not afford, and pointed to Biden's claim: "They don’t need that. The last thing you need is an up-armored Humvee coming into a neighborhood just like the military invading.”

    Reyes also slammed the Democrats' proposal to form an unarmed "civilian corps of first responders," arguing it would divert funding from existing law enforcement and "put civilians in harm’s way, where police would then be responsible for bailing them out of trouble."

    In July the National Association of Police Organizations endorsed Trump, after backing Biden as former president Barack Obama's running mate in 2008 and 2012. 

    In August the Police Benevolent Association of New York City also backed the president's re-election campaign, prompting Democratic New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to condemn "enforcement arms of the state with lethal weapons."

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    Tags:
    Law Enforcement, Police, defunding, Black Lives Matter, US Election 2020, Donald Trump
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