BREAKING NEWS : Indiana reports 2,565 new COVID-19 cases and 23 new deaths on Sunday Full Story
SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts

Corporate America doesn't want to talk about defunding police

Article Image

In the wake of George Floyd's death, there is a call across the country to "Defund the Police." Chris Cillizza explains why the slogan could be dangerous for Democrats and detract from the calls for reforming police departments, demilitarization and re-allocation of resources for community building.

Posted: Jun 11, 2020 10:30 PM
Updated: Jun 11, 2020 10:30 PM

Major corporations that have declared support for the Black Lives Matter movement after the police killing of George Floyd are so far reluctant to voice support for the movement's proposal to "defund the police" — a rally cry from the thousands of protesters demanding a national reckoning over police brutality and systemic racism.

CNN Business reached out to several of the Fortune 500 companies that issued public statements backing Black Lives Matter in recent days, including Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Bank of America, Chase Bank, Citigroup and Google.

None of the companies contacted said they support defunding police departments. Citigroup, BofA, Chase and Twitter declined to comment. Facebook, Amazon and Google did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Defunding police is a policy effort to divert tax revenue away from law enforcement resources and instead invest those funds in other social services.

In the past, law enforcement leaders, including former Dallas police chief David Brown, have said their officers are too often relied upon to deal with social issues — mental health, social work, drug abuse, school discipline, etc. — that police were never meant to deal with and often aren't equipped to manage.

"So much of policing right now is generated and directed toward quality-of-life issues, homelessness, drug addiction, domestic violence," Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza told NBC News in a recent interview.

"What we do need is increased funding for housing, we need increased funding for education, we need increased funding for quality of life of communities who are over-policed and over-surveilled," she added.

Some activists just want to reduce the amount of money and resources spent on law enforcement. Others call for disbanding police departments entirely.

Microsoft told CNN Business it is "looking into" responding to a request for comment on the issue of defunding police. That comes less than a day after about 250 of its employees asked Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to end the company's contracts with law enforcement agencies, according to a letter obtained by the tech and science publication OneZero.

In their letter, the Seattle-based Microsoft employees also condemned their city's police for brutality they said some of them endured recently while participating in protests supporting George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.

"Every one of us ... are either firsthand witnesses or direct victims to the inhumane responses of [Seattle Police] to peaceful protesting," the letter reads, according to OneZero.

Nadella and Microsoft founder Bill Gates have both expressed a desire to take action against systemic racism. Nadella recently told Time.com that "addressing systemic racism, which has impacted opportunities and exacerbated injustices for black and African-American communities, requires an urgent holistic response."

"It starts with having empathy and a shared understanding for the lived experience of others, but it must evolve to intentional action, in our company and in our communities," Nadella said.

On Thursday Microsoft did say it will stop selling facial recognition technology to US police departments, following moves from Amazon and IBM.

In its email response to CNN Business, Microsoft didn't comment on how it plans to respond to its employees' letter.

As it stands, many businesses are showing broad public support for the Black Lives Matter movement, but they are avoiding taking a stand on specific policy initiatives that would help the movement accomplish its goals.

On Monday, the US Chamber of Commerce, a powerful lobbying group that represents 3 million businesses, sent a letter to Congress calling on federal lawmakers to enact policing reforms before Labor Day.

But the US Chamber did not make any specific policy recommendations in its letter. It also declined to comment to CNN Business when asked about the issue of defunding police.

"We won't pretend to suggest that we know exactly how policy ought to be changed to make an impact," the group's executive vice president and chief policy officer Neil Bradley wrote in the letter to Congress. "What we do know is that while no single law can solve our problems, changes in policy can make a difference."

In Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed by a police officer late last month, the city's police chief on Wednesday said his department would withdraw from contract negotiations with the police union -- a move supported by Black Lives Matter and other civil rights activists. The city's chamber of commerce didn't have an immediate response to the decision.

In New York, the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce said it supports both police reform efforts and the Black Lives Matter movement in the group's first statement on the matter since the murder of George Floyd.

More than a week after the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce's president and CEO called for sending in the National Guard to support the NYPD during riots and looting, other chamber leaders are now taking a different tack.

"We are 100% in support of Black Lives Matter," board member Terrance Holliday told CNN Business. "I can't comment about police defunding. I know it's a topic that everybody's talking about. At some point and time folks are going to weigh in."

Greater New York Chamber executive director Helana Natt said she supports diverting resources from policing to other city agencies, but she doesn't support getting rid of the police department.

"You can't disband the police until you have a backup system," Natt said. "You disband police and there's mayhem. And it makes it even worse with the looting and you won't have people relocating into New York City and the economy will tank because of that."

For now, the business world's view on defunding police appears to mirror that of the general public. A YouGov/Yahoo News poll conducted May 29-30 found 70% of Americans now support reforming police departments, but only 35% support reducing police force funding.

Black business leaders may also be conflicted about defunding police.

J. Averi Frost, 34, executive director of the Central Ohio African American Chamber of Commerce, a black business advocacy group, said her members have voiced support for recent protests, even though some of their businesses were damaged or looted by rioters.

But Frost said she couldn't say for sure how her members feel about defunding or disbanding police entirely.

"We've never had this conversation before -- what we would replace the police department with?" Frost told CNN Business. "That has to be an actual thought process. I can't speak to the views and feelings of my membership and say something that unilateral."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 608519

Reported Deaths: 9693
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion840461335
Lake45349684
Allen32803548
Hamilton29394315
St. Joseph27380381
Elkhart24404345
Vanderburgh19411249
Tippecanoe17970138
Johnson15069295
Porter14783169
Hendricks14401248
Madison10965221
Vigo10726181
Clark10677144
Monroe9383110
Delaware9116134
LaPorte9065163
Howard8236144
Kosciusko806983
Warrick672999
Hancock6697104
Bartholomew6484100
Floyd6428110
Wayne6136162
Grant5991115
Dubois555579
Boone551168
Morgan541295
Henry507864
Marshall503984
Cass483263
Dearborn479845
Noble473059
Jackson425047
Shelby417581
Lawrence391079
Clinton373043
Gibson370359
Harrison348144
DeKalb347164
Montgomery345754
Knox335639
Miami321444
Steuben313745
Whitley307326
Wabash303251
Adams300936
Ripley298445
Putnam296850
Huntington291659
Jasper289034
White273243
Daviess270474
Jefferson263338
Decatur247683
Fayette247148
Greene239862
Posey239328
Wells236051
LaGrange228862
Scott225339
Clay222532
Randolph213548
Jennings198936
Sullivan192333
Spencer191321
Washington186423
Fountain184027
Starke175443
Jay167623
Owen165737
Fulton164030
Orange159534
Carroll158015
Rush155118
Perry154229
Vermillion149134
Franklin148333
Tipton132332
Parke13078
Pike116926
Blackford111022
Pulaski97037
Newton90921
Brown88035
Benton86610
Crawford7999
Martin73713
Warren6817
Switzerland6615
Union6287
Ohio4907
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 859841

Reported Deaths: 10680
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin101171707
Cuyahoga855711125
Hamilton64017448
Montgomery43107418
Summit34836761
Lucas31350625
Butler30973232
Stark25786435
Warren19671140
Lorain19017223
Mahoning17321338
Lake16080154
Clermont15926111
Delaware1438878
Licking13204137
Trumbull12809316
Fairfield1279381
Greene12055137
Medina11591168
Clark10942265
Wood10348158
Allen9897126
Portage9296109
Miami916873
Richland9139118
Marion7459113
Tuscarawas7381182
Columbiana7327124
Pickaway726150
Wayne7034171
Muskingum703141
Erie6152129
Hancock552390
Ross548998
Scioto539164
Geauga508455
Darke470292
Ashtabula453073
Lawrence452654
Union451828
Sandusky436662
Mercer433589
Seneca430166
Huron428741
Auglaize422264
Shelby421222
Jefferson419269
Belmont416840
Washington388740
Athens38009
Putnam374975
Madison355129
Knox352622
Ashland344938
Fulton338443
Defiance330086
Crawford322374
Preble320637
Brown312921
Logan307332
Ottawa293943
Clinton290143
Williams278667
Highland275118
Jackson263845
Guernsey254125
Champaign252028
Fayette236530
Morrow23234
Perry231318
Holmes225474
Henry218749
Hardin213033
Coshocton205622
Van Wert202245
Gallia196726
Wyandot196051
Pike176217
Adams176115
Hocking172024
Carroll155616
Paulding144321
Noble120540
Meigs108624
Monroe100732
Harrison89121
Morgan83130
Vinton70213
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 30°
Angola
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 23°
Huntington
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 30°
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 30°
Lima
Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 23°
Dry start to Monday, snow/freezing rain moves in late
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events