MIAMI – One of the demands from protesters in the wake of the death of George Floyd is a call to defund or dismantle police departments.
Supporters say there are several reforms that can't wait when it comes to building a society without police or prisons.
Tifanny Burks with Black Lives Matter Alliance in Broward County led a group of demonstrators from Fort Lauderdale, to Wilton Manors.
"We want to defund the police and invest in our communities," she said. "We all want safety in our communities, but we know that police officers have been proven that they can’t do that, and no longer provide that."
She and her alliance are calling for $10 million to immediately come out of the Fort Lauderdale police budget, and instead, go to other things.
"Like investing in our homelessness problem, investing in resources that give people access to a livable wage, investing in Medicare for all," suggested Burks. "The solutions and the possibilities are endless."
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Thomas Reyes is President of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police.
"We don’t like bad cops," he said. "We want to see bad cops locked up."
While Reyes condemned what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis, he said each police department is unique.
"Individual communities are going to address it in different ways, and I don’t foresee our community dealing with it that way," he said, referring to the calls to defund or dismantle police departments. "We provide excellent service to everyone. It doesn’t matter what neighborhood, what color you are, what’s your background, where you’re from; Miami is such a diverse community and our department shows that."
For her part, Burks doesn't seem to think that will necessarily be the case.
"We know it can happen, it’s happening in other places that have really responded in a rapid speed and we expect the same thing, here, in South Florida," she said.
There were similar calls to defund the police during public comment at Tuesday's Miami-Dade County Virtual Commission meeting, though no action was taken.
Local 10 News also reached out to the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, which deferred us to City Hall, as defunding the department by $10 million would be a policy matter taken up by commissioners.
The mayor was unavailable for comment, and a spokesperson says the issue “has not been raised or discussed by the City Commission, nor has it been examined by staff.”