GOP, Democrats swap charges over police funding

Posted September 14, 2020 6:25 p.m. EDT

— Republican House Speaker Tim Moore on Monday accused legislative Democrats of pledging to defund police across North Carolina. Democrats responded by calling the accusation a lie.

Most House Democrats have signed a pledge with the group Future Now to work for jobs, education and access to health care. The pledge doesn't even mention law enforcement, let alone cutting police budgets.

There is a policy proposal on Future Now's website regarding reallocating police funds to other services, such as mental health organizations to give them the resources to respond to cases so police officers wouldn't have to. But that isn't included in the pledge.

Flanked by current and former law enforcement officials from across the state during a news conference, Moore, R-Cleveland, accused Democrats of moving to the far left and said North Carolinians should be worried.

"Our nation’s in a time of crisis right now. Many of us have seen firsthand the destruction that’s happened, the violence that’s happened, crime rates going up in cases," Moore said. "The last thing we need to be talking about is reallocating assets from law enforcement and defunding the police."

"No Democrats in the North Carolina House want to defund the police under any circumstance, period, and have never said such," said Rep. Robert Reives, D-Chatham. "Now, what I do know is that he was loosely referring to a pledge that was signed January 2019, before anybody had ever talked about 'defund the police.'"

Reives called Moore’s accusations a blatant lie and an attempt to jump onto the national bandwagon that Republicans are trying to use to defeat Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Future Now executive director Daniel Squadron said Moore is trying to frighten people and called on him to apologize.

"The speaker is lying about the policy he highlights, which is actually about experts identifying the most effective spending to keep communities safe and strong and nowhere calls to defund the police," Squadron said in a statement. "Apparently, saving taxpayer dollars and investing in proven strategies to make people safer is more offensive to the speaker than his racist dog-whistle."

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