Governor Northam was asked whether he supported defunding the police at his Thursday afternoon press conference. Northam broke from some of the more radical members of his party and said, “When we talk about defunding, how do we best prioritize the funding we already we have. That’s the way police departments want to approach it as we discuss reform.”
Northam did say there is room to reform the way police money is spent in the department but not reallocating that money to other services such as mental health care.
Northam said, “I certainly don’t support defunding the police. Our police officers provide much needed resources to our communities.”
Northam, who called for more body cameras for police in Virginia at last week’s moment, said that some police departments can’t afford them.
Northam also urged protesters to refrain from trying to remove statues. He said it is better to let the towns and cities remove the statues. An individual received a severe head injury after the Portsmouth Confederate Memorial he was trying to take down fell on him.
Northam said ““I know these statues are causing a lot of pain but pulling them down is not worth risking someone’s life… let’s do this the right way and keep all Virginians safe.”
Northam said he’s encouraging all protesters to wear facemasks and get tested for COVID-19. “This virus is still with us,” he said.
He pointed to how Virginia hasn’t seen a spike in daily cases in the last two weeks, and have actually dropped significantly in the last few days along with low case numbers.
The state is still only averaging about 8,000 tests per day, about the same as two weeks ago.