In the days after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, people on social media began engaging with proposed initiatives for ending police brutality. One of those ideas is centered on defunding the police, and the proposal has created confusion among many who fear the consequences of taking resources from the police.

While critics say the plan will backfire and lead to an increase in crime, proponents say this is the best way for communities to move forward without overly relying on police protection. The goal of defunding police departments is to shrink the responsibilities of police and invest more into other resources in the community, according to NBC News. 

What It Means To Defund The Police

Defunding the police doesn't mean completely dissolving law enforcement entities. However, it does mean taking some funding from police departments and using the money to instead invest in other community resources. By investing more into the community, crime could be prevented before it happens. The funding would help communities tend to residents' most important needs and help them advance in life, making crime a less likely avenue.

Attorney Josie Duffy Rice, who took part in a recent panel on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, explained why activists are pushing to defund the police.

"We’re relying on a cruel system to reduce cruelty," Rice said. "And we are funding the back end of social ills instead of the front end of addressing them. … It’s very hard to imagine a world where we’re defunding the police because that's all we’ve had to rely on. We’re dreaming of a new world. And the ability to imagine a new world is exciting.”

Some Of The Resources That Would Benefit From Defunding Police

Instead of investing more into improving law enforcement, advocates for defunding the police are aiming to put more into other community resources. Some of those resources would give way to local mental health, housing and violence prevention programs. 

"Defunding the police means shrinking the scope of police responsibilities and shifting most of what government does to keep us safe to entities that are better equipped to meet that need," Christy E. Lopez, a professor at Georgetown Law, wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post. "It means investing more in mental-health care and housing, and expanding the use of community mediation and violence interruption programs."

According to NBC News, the goal is to also invest more in medical and social services, allowing professionals in those fields to respond to some calls instead of police. 

How Defunding Stops The Need To Depend On Police

Recent cases have shown examples of police responding to frivolous calls and only making matters worse. The case of Floyd is a prime example. Floyd was accused of using a fake $20 bill when former officer Derek Chauvin responded to the call and killed him. There have also been many cases of white civilians making false calls when they feel threatened by innocent Black men and women. 

Amy Cooper proved to be a part of that problem last month when she called police on Christian Cooper when he asked her to leash her dog in Central Park, as Blavity previously reported. Fortunately, that particular story didn't end in tragedy.

Activists hope defunding the police will stop senseless tragedies by reallocating money to entities that are better equipped to handle incidents that don't require police intervention. 

"We call police to roust homeless people from corners and doorsteps, resolve verbal squabbles between family members and strangers alike, and arrest children for behavior that once would have been handled as a school disciplinary issue," Lopez wrote. "We ask police to take accident reports, respond to people who have overdosed and arrest, rather than cite, people who might have intentionally or not passed a counterfeit $20 bill."

Whether Defunding Police Will Be Enough To End Police Brutality

Defunding police departments is only one step in the movement to end police brutality, and, according to Lopez, it must be done in conjunction with police reform efforts in order for change to happen.   

"Even as we try to shift resources from policing to programs that will better promote fairness and public safety, we must continue the work of police reform," Lopez wrote. "We cannot stop regulating police conduct now because we hope someday to reduce or eliminate our reliance on policing."

A ban on chokeholds is one aspect of police reform that has been passed in several cities since the death of Floyd. Earlier this week, Democratic congressional leaders introduced the Justice in Policing Act, which proposes a federal ban on chokeholds like those used to kill Floyd and Eric Garner, as Blavity previously reported

According to The New York Times, New York legislators also made significant changes in recent days by banning chokeholds and repealing a law that prohibited the public from looking at an officer's disciplinary record.