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Pro basketball great Charles Barkley ripped the “defund police” movement during Thursday’s TNT post-game show “Inside the NBA” as an inherently bad idea, suggesting it would leave blacks vulnerable to criminal activity.
While agreeing that police reforms were a good idea, Barkley nevertheless said defunding departments or getting rid of police entirely wasn’t the way to go.
“We really need to be careful. I hear these fools on TV talking about defund the police and things like that,” Barkley said. “We need police reform and prison reform and things like that.
“Because you know who ain’t gonna defund the cops? White neighborhoods and rich neighborhoods,” he continued. “So, that notion they keep saying that, I’m like, wait a minute, who are black people supposed to call, Ghostbusters?
“We have crime in our neighborhoods. We need police reform. But like I say, white people — especially rich which people — they always gonna have cops,” the Philadelphia 76s and Phoenix Suns great who became known around the league as “Sir Charles” noted further.
“So, we need to stop that ‘defund’ and ‘abolish the cops’ crap,” Barkley added.
During the show, Barkley also said that Breonna Taylor, the Louisville, Ky., EMT killed during a police raid in March after her boyfriend fired a shot at officers after they knocked and announced themselves, should not be put in the same category as George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery.
“It’s bad this young lady lost her life,” he said regarding. “But we do have to take into account that her boyfriend did shoot at the cops and shot a cop.
“So, like I say, even though I am really sorry she lost her life, I don’t think we can just say we can put this in the same situation as George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. I just don’t believe that.”
L.A. Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal agreed with Barkley on that point.
“I have to agree with Charles, this one is sort of lumped in,” O’Neal — who has supported the police in the past and was once deputized in a Georgia county.
“You have to get a warrant signed and some states do allow no-knock warrants. And everyone was asking for murder charges. When you talk about murder, you have to show intent,” O’Neal said. “A homicide occurred and we’re sorry a homicide occurred. When you have a warrant signed by the judge, you are doing your job, and I would imagine that you would fire back.”
Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired first and shot Sgt. Johnathan Mattingly in the leg during the exchange.
Former Louisville Police Sgt. Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree for discharging his weapon in a haphazard manner. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican, announced on Wednesday that two other officers involved in the incident would not be charged with any crime including murder, as advocates for Taylor had pressed.
Walker claimed he believed the officers were home invaders, but Cameron — citing an eyewitness — said the officers knocked on Taylor’s door and announced themselves as they were instructed to do before taking a battering ram to her door.
“The decision before my office as a special prosecutor in this case, was not to decide the loss of Miss Taylor’s life was a tragedy. The answer to that question is unequivocally yes,” the AG said. “There is no doubt that this is a gut-wrenching, emotional case, and the pain that many people are feeling is understandable.
“My role as the special prosecutor, in this case, is to set aside everything in pursuit of the truth,” he continued. “My job is to present the facts to the grand jury, and the grand jury then applies those facts to the law. If we simply act on emotion or outrage, there is no justice. Mob justice is not justice. Justice sought by violence is not justice — it just becomes revenge. And in our system, criminal justice isn’t the quest for revenge.”
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