Police reform efforts have increased after the killing of George Floyd in 2020.
Fox News on Tuesday attacked a ballot initiative on police reform, falsely alleging that if the reform becomes law, it will negatively impact the ability of police to respond to serious crimes.
If approved, the ballot initiative under consideration in Minneapolis, Minnesota, would replace the existing Minneapolis Police Department with a Department of Public Safety. The police would then operate as a division of law enforcement under that department.
"When somebody picks up the phone, when there is a crime in progress, you want the police to show up. I don't know who exactly is going to show up with a Department of Public Safety," Fox News' Steve Doocy said on "Fox & Friends."
Under the Minneapolis ballot initiative, police officers would still be the first responders to serious and violent crimes. The proposed Department of Public Safety would also include social workers, mental health experts, and experts in de-escalation tactics as part of a comprehensive approach to community safety.
The initiative was first proposed in 2020, following nationwide protests over the police killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis. Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was convicted of murdering Floyd and was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison.
Efforts to reform policing have grown in popularity after years of protest against police brutality, particularly violence directed toward Black people.
Fox News has been at the forefront of the conservative opposition to such reform and has repeatedly used its programming to advance disinformation about reform. Fox has falsely claimed that efforts to "defund the police" would leave crime victims without recourse.
That misinformation has gone on to be used by Republicans in Congress, who have falsely alleged that Democrats seek to "abolish" policing.
In February, during Senate hearings for Department of Justice nominees Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke, this false allegation was repeated by Republican senators. Both Gupta and Clarke went on to be approved for the positions they now hold in the Department, despite Republican opposition.
The false characterization of police reform is a continuation of the network's unbalanced coverage on the topics of race and justice.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.