‘F*** you forever’: John Oliver attacks Fox News anchor in police defunding segment

Move underway to redirect funding from police forces to other initiatives

Clémence Michallon
New York City
Monday 08 June 2020 21:18
John Oliver says Donald Trump has no interest in police reform

John Oliver has taken Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson to task in no uncertain words on the subject of police defunding.

The late-night host broached the topic on Sunday, during an episode of his HBO show Last Week Tonight With John Oliver dedicated to ongoing protests against police brutality and racism across the US.

He discussed calls for police reform, which have included proposals to defund the police.

Supporters of the idea say that defunding isn’t about eliminating police departments or stripping agencies of all of their money. Rather, they say it is time for the US to address systemic problems in policing, and spend more on what communities across America need, such as housing and education.

State and local governments spent $115bn on policing in 2017, according to data compiled by the Urban Institute.

“That’s a phrase that on its face may sound alarming to some,” Oliver said, before introducing a clip of “professional alarmist” Carlson claiming that activists were fighting for “no more cops”.

“First of all, in all sincerity, Tucker, you seem nervous,” Oliver said after the video stopped playing.

“This is a difficult moment, and I really hope you’re taking time for yourself, whether it’s through meditation, or yoga, or – just kidding, f*** you forever, Tucker Carlson, you sentient polo mallet.”

Oliver added: “Defunding the police absolutely does not mean that we eliminate all cops and just succumb to the purge.

“Instead, it’s about moving away from a narrow conception of public safety that relies on policing and punishment, and investing in a community’s actual safety net. Things like stable housing, mental health services, and community organisations.”

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In New York City, where Oliver is based, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday that the city would move funding from the NYPD to youth initiatives and social services, while keeping the city safe, but he didn’t give details.

In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti vowed to cut as much as $150m that was part of a planned increase in the police department’s budget.

A Minneapolis city council member said in a tweet on Thursday that the city would “dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response”.

“We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department,” Jeremiah Ellison wrote. “And when we’re done, we’re not simply gonna glue it back together.” He did not explain what would replace the police department.

A majority of the members of the Minneapolis City Council said on Sunday they supported disbanding the city’s police department. Nine of the council’s 12 members appeared with activists at a rally in a city park Sunday afternoon and vowed to end policing as the city currently knows it.

“It is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe,” Lisa Bender, the council president, said. “Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period.”

Disbanding an entire department has happened before. In 2012, with crime rampant in Camden, New Jersey, the city disbanded its police department and replaced it with a new force that covered Camden County. Compton, California, took the same step in 2000, shifting its policing to Los Angeles County.

Additional reporting by agencies

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