NBA legend Charles Barkley says he is not a fan of the political movement pushing for the defunding of police departments, arguing Thursday that pulling officers off the streets would hurt lower income black communities the most while asking, “Who are black people supposed to call? Ghostbusters?”
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“We have to really be careful,” Barkley said on TNT’s NBA “Tip-Off” show, “I hear these fools on tv talking about ‘defund the police’ and things like that. We need police reform, prison reform, and things like that. Because you know who ain’t going to defund the cops? White neighborhoods and rich neighborhoods.”
“So, that notion, they keep saying that,” Barkley continued. “I’m like, wait a minute, who are black people supposed to call? Ghostbusters?”
“We need police reform,” Barkley reiterated. “But like I say, white people, especially rich white people, they’re always going to have cops. So we need to stop that ‘defund’ or ‘abolish the cops’ crap.”
Charles Barkley: “Who are black people supposed to call? The Ghostbusters?”
The panel, which included fellow NBA great Shaquille O’Neal, discussed the death of Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot by police during a raid in March. On Wednesday, it was announced that none of the three police officers involved in the incident would be charged in connection with Taylor’s killing.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, both Barkley and O’Neal were lambasted on social media for their takes on what the outlet described as “a drug raid gone wrong.”
“I don’t think this one was like George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery and things like that,” Barkley said. “I feel sad that this young lady lost her life.”
“The no-knock warrant is something we need to get rid of…across the board,” he continued. “But I am worried to lump all these situations in together, and I just feel bad that the young lady lost her life. But we do have to take into account that her boyfriend shot at the cops and shot a cop.”
O’Neal chimed in, saying, “I have to agree with Charles, this one is sort of lumped in. You have to get a warrant signed and some states do allow no-knock warrants. And everyone is asking for murder charges. When you talk about murder, you have to show intent. A homicide occurred and we’re sorry a homicide occurred. When you have a warrant signed by the judge, you are doing your job, and I would imagine that you would fire back.”