Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf: Not Just ‘Defund the Police,’ but ‘Replace the Police’
LOS ANGELES, California — Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland, California, told a meeting of Democratic mayors on Tuesday morning that it was necessary not just to “defund the police,” but to “replace the police.”
Schaaf joined Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and several other Democratic mayors on a Zoom meeting to discuss police reform.
The meeting included Stockton, California, Mayor Michael Tubbs; and Columbia, South Carolina Mayor Steve Benjamin, along with Schaaf and Garcetti. It also included Rep. Karen Bass (D-LA), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, who is considered a potential vice presidential candidate for presumptive Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden.
Schaaf talked about “the evil of structural racism, that is everywhere, including in our justice system.” She said that “snap decisions” by police were more likely to be influenced by racial bias.
She boasted that her city had reduced the number of discretionary stops of African Americans by 62%, though she did not say whether that had a positive or negative influence on the city’s high violent crime rate, which rose 7% last year.
She added that Oakland planned not only to “reform the police,” but to “replace the police” with other forms of intervention, such as using trained mental health professionals.
Schaaf also backed the repeal of California’s Proposition 209, which prevents race from being used as a criterion in state government and universities.
She claimed that “we have systemically stolen or blocked black residents from actually being successful, and that is what a lot of this anger is about.”
Schaaf pledged to become more “intentional about race” as her city pursued solutions.
Bass discussed federal legislative measures to end police chokeholds and no-knock warrants, as well as “qualified immunity” for police officers from prosecution.
Tubbs repeated a claim that is popular among Black Lives Matter activists, namely that the institution of police in the United States originated with “slave patrol.” He talked about Stockton’s experiments with a guaranteed basic income, calling poverty a form of “violence.”
Garcetti asked Bass to explain in further detail what “defund the police” actually means.
She said that there was a “spectrum” of views. Some, she said, believed police departments should really be abolished. Others, she said, believed in “reinvestment” in communities by shifting budgets from policing to other priorities.
In response to a question from Breitbart News, Rep. Bass claimed that Democratic Party leaders had spoken out against violence in the Black Lives Matter protests.
She also brought up the issue of dismantling statutes. “I don’t want to see them come down through vandalism,” she said, although she said that she would like there to be a discussion of figures like Andrew Jackson, whose statue was targeted the previous evening by protesters in Washington, DC.
Breitbart News asked Mayor Schaff whether the Democratic Party had a particular problem with racism, given that the “systemic racism” she complained about existed in cities governed for generations by Democrats.
She answered that racism did not discriminate by political party.