UPDATED 7:33 AM PT – Thursday, June 3, 2021
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has criticized calls to defund the police as well as the progressive push for changes to qualified immunity. On Tuesday, he showed his support for all law enforcement officials in the U.S. while speaking on a federal anti-drug program in Owensboro, Kentucky.
“I think the abuse that’s been heaped on law enforcement over the past year is unfortunate,” McConnell expressed. “I think defunding the police has got to be one of the dumbest ideas ever surfaced by anyone ever in our country.”
According to a recent USA Today poll, only about 18 percent of Americans support the movement to either defund the police or abolish policing entirely. Many attribute the decreasing levels of support to the recent crime spike in progressive-led cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Even though a strong majority of American’s disapprove of the idea, it has been one of the most talked about issues amongst progressives in Congress.
Counties should not have the right to unilaterally defund the police.
That’s why I signed #SB23 – requiring voter approval to reduce law enforcement budgets in counties – into LAW.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) June 2, 2021
Meanwhile, McConnell and other Senate Republicans believe there should be no adjustments to the qualified immunity legal shield that protects officers acting within the scope of their duties.
“Look, you are engaged in a job that is challenging…I assume, busting up fights for many of you is a fairly frequent occasion,” McConnell stated. “If every single one of those instances becomes a potential personal lawsuit, I’m not going to ask for a show of hands, but I’m sure many of you guys would want to do what you do.”
The senator fears removing qualified immunity would disincentivize law enforcement officers from policing on local, state and federal levels. This could be dangerous during an era of higher crime rates when policing is arguably more valuable than ever.