During an interview on CNN, actor Tyler Perry called for more police officers and criticized the idea of defunding police departments.
Perry told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, “When they saw George Floyd’s death, this horrific, horrible death played out as this man pleaded for his life and begged, said ‘please’ many, many times, it — seeing it changes everything.”
“So, I became very, very optimistic when everybody galvanized together because I know that’s when change comes. When people galvanize and come together as one, that’s when change happens.
“But, lately, I’ve been very, very concerned that the message is being hijacked by some other groups or political ads and parties that are trying to stop the message of what we’re asking for here is police reform, right?”
Cooper asked Perry what he thought of the “defund police” movement.
“Well, when I first heard it, I was troubled by it, I thought OK, this is — this is going to be weaponized by — in this political year. I completely thought that that was happening. That’s exactly what’s happened. It’s been weaponized,” Perry said.
“But I did some research. And what I would challenge people to do is do research and find out what it means,” he said.
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“Now, you’ve got to understand this — I’m not for taking money from the police department. I think we need more police. My studio is in a neighborhood where I think we need police,” Perry continued.
“I have really close friends who are police officers that I love dearly, who are really good people, who have been very, very hurt by this, as well,” he said.
“I think we need the police, I know that I need the police,” he said. “We need them, but we need them reformed, we need them trained well. We need the right structure.”
“Taking money from the police department to make the police department smaller, that troubles me,” he said.