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'Defund the police' slogan and anti-cop violence debated at U.S. Senate hearing

Republicans on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and law enforcement witnesses at a Tuesday hearing blamed recent violence against officers on anti-police rhetoric, while Democrats distanced themselves from the "defund the police" slogan and said an oversupply of guns made law enforcement jobs more dangerous. Republicans on the panel raised complaints about general attitudes toward police and members of both parties criticized progressive activists' calls to "defund the police," which peaked after the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in May 2020. The panel's ranking Republican, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, requested the hearing. He said 73 police officers were intentionally killed last year, the most since 2001. "A main cause of this violence against police is the demonization and the disrespect shown to the profession of law enforcement throughout the country," Grassley said. "When you allow hatred of a group to spread, it makes it easy to justify violent attacks against law enforcement." Chairman Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, pointed out the committee had approved five bills this year to increase federal funding for local departments. President Joe Biden last week called for even more federal funding, Durbin said. Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said Congress should also focus on decreasing access to guns. "There are some on the other side who falsely accuse Democrats [of] wanting to defund the police," Durbin said in an opening statement. "The record is clear: We are funding the police, and we should. But our work cannot end there. We cannot ignore the dominant role of guns in assaults and killings of police officers." George Floyd killing Republicans on the panel and some witnesses focused on the movement t

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