Last summer, the murder of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin sparked a protest movement calling for justice, racial equality and reformation of the entire law enforcement system.
The slogan "Defund the Police" became increasingly popular as many progressives sought to dramatically alter citizens' relationship with authority figures seemingly above the law.
The movement has continued, with some pundits calling for large swaths of the American police system to be replaced with specialized non-violent professionals for things like wellness checks and conflict resolution with children.
Of course, any proposal that includes taking money away from traditional policing has been met with harsh criticism and fear-mongering from conservatives. Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana recently appeared on Fox News and suggested that if a "Defund the Police" supporter was in trouble, they should "call a meth head."
"I've said it before. If you hate cops just because they're cops, then feel free to call a criminal, call a meth head, the next time you get in trouble."
Senator Kennedy: If you hate cops just because they’re cops, call a criminal. Call a methhead https://t.co/IpRhcCcpJr— Acyn (@Acyn)1619487402.0
Twitter users weren't surprised Kennedy, who has made many other controversial comments about policing and racial justice, would choose to make this comment during a discussion on the murders of people of color.
@Acyn Senator Doofus. The fake cornpone and the disingenuous comments make him an utter embarrassment to public service.— Norman Ornstein (@Norman Ornstein)1619488104.0
@Acyn @SenJohnKennedy LA scorecard - #46 in Healthcare - #48 in Education - #47 Economy - #47 Infrastructure -#48 O… https://t.co/LCGHVnYuN4— Zullo (@Zullo)1619525859.0
@Acyn Why is Foghorn Leghorn blinking so much?— Skip Hutchins (@Skip Hutchins)1619487448.0
Surely there should be an option somewhere between "police" and "meth head" to call if one is in need.
@Acyn Mine as well. Cops don’t stop crime, they investigate it. Community and security help deter if people have… https://t.co/qsR2vRpLK5— JD (@JD)1619487499.0
@Acyn It's really frustrating having the evil attributes of a few foisted upon a larger population, isn't it? Sounds familiar.— ᴀʀᴛ 🇺🇸 (@ᴀʀᴛ 🇺🇸)1619487496.0
@Acyn Imagine suffering such a practice from the government. From an arm of the government armed and willing to kil… https://t.co/aiAIM6CCUC— ᴀʀᴛ 🇺🇸 (@ᴀʀᴛ 🇺🇸)1619487658.0
Kennedy went on to say:
"If you support defunding the police, you have tested positive for stupid."
@Acyn Could he be any more deaf to the needs of Americans?— Suspected Skeptic (@Suspected Skeptic)1619544820.0
@Acyn The problem is not with simply bad cops ‼️ The problem is a corrupt and racist system, and especially politi… https://t.co/3EwVh3TQbr— Cruz Thomas 🇺🇸 🌎 🐶🌄 (@Cruz Thomas 🇺🇸 🌎 🐶🌄)1619487961.0
Kennedy also said the media "have a narrative and they only want to cherry-pick and pick instances which show cops at their worst."
"I mean, I do not accept, nor do I think most Americans accept, that most cops are bad people, or racist. They don't get up every day and go into work hoping they can hurt somebody. Most of them get up every day and hope they can themselves come back home alive."
@Acyn https://t.co/EUINN7om2c— LVaddict618 🐿 (@LVaddict618 🐿)1619487626.0
Many people online pointed out Kennedy was either purposefully or accidentally misrepresenting many liberals' argument even "good" police officers are part of a system that devalues and disregards Black and brown lives.
A system can be broken even when some of the people operating within it have the best intentions.
@Acyn The only people I know who hate cops are the ones whose children have been beaten and killed by them. I don't… https://t.co/KobMeAOpqJ— Vic Volare (@Vic Volare)1619490549.0
@Acyn So that's the new offense GQP will use to win 2020. We don't hate cops, we just need clean up on the corresponding isles.— CRJ (@CRJ)1619490795.0
There were some Twitter users who felt Kennedy's argument didn't hold water even if taken at face value.
is there any other profession on earth where they routinely respond to criticism that they are intimidating, maimin… https://t.co/zTEByHPwbG— Anarcho-Feudalist (@Anarcho-Feudalist)1619561473.0
What does it say about the quality of cops in America when you have to compare them to methheads to make them look… https://t.co/QeYqhPhiKD— Ben💯(abolish the filibuster) (@Ben💯(abolish the filibuster))1619529194.0
Kennedy's comments aren't likely to win him any fans on the left, but there are many American conservatives who still balk at the idea of taking any money away from police officers, who some see as the only thing separating society from lawlessness.
Of course, those conservative Americans, often White, rarely need to fear being unjustly killed by the police for minor violations or while unarmed and innocent of any infraction.