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Tyler Perry weighs in on the debate over defunding the police: ‘We need more police’

Media mogul Tyler Perry delivered his opinion on the movement to defund the police that has garnered notoriety since the nationwide protests against police brutality began in late May. The actor said he does not support “taking money from the police department” and proclaimed that “we need more police.”

Perry appeared on “Anderson Cooper 360 Wednesday night, where he weighed in on the contentious debate over defunding the police.

“You gotta understand this: I am not for taking money from the police department,” Perry told CNN host Anderson Cooper. “I think we need more police.”

“My studio is in a neighborhood where I think we need police,” Perry said. “But we don’t need police that are undertrained.”

Perry’s $250 million film production facility, one of the largest studios in the U.S., is in the Sylvan Hills neighborhood in southwest Atlanta. In 2015, Perry purchased 330 acres of property that was formerly U.S. Army base Fort McPherson, which was controlled by the Confederate government after Georgia’s secession in 1861.

“I think we need the police. I know that I need the police,” Perry continued. “I have several that work for me here at the studio. We need them. But we need them reformed. We need them trained well, we need the right structure.”

“I became very, very optimistic when everybody galvanized together, because I know that’s when change comes,” Perry said of the nationwide anti-police brutality movement following the death of George Floyd. “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.”

“When I first heard it, I was troubled by it,” Perry said of the movement to defund the police. “I thought, ‘OK, this is gonna be weaponized in this political year.’ I completely thought that that was happening, that’s exactly what’s happened. It’s been weaponized.”

“Some of the things inside of defund the police, I really understand,” the multimillionaire entertainment mogul said. “Like having officers who are clinically trained to deal with certain situations. I think all of those things are helpful, but taking money from the police department to make the police department smaller, that troubles me.”

In June, Perry wrote an essay in People magazine discussing police brutality.

“The level of racism and brutality that George Floyd faced is something that we as black people know all too well,” Perry wrote. “When I saw that video, I had so many raw, guttural emotions. I felt for him and his family, I felt for all of us as black people, I felt for my five-year-old son.”

In July, Perry teamed up with officers from the Atlanta Police Department to personally hand out 1,000 gift cards for the Kroger grocery store chain to Atlanta residents.

“This is about the community that I love, that I live and work in. This is about good people who are in need of a hand up, not a handout,” Perry told ET. “This is about the good police officers who do their job well every day, some of which are my personal friends.”

“This is about trying to bridge unity in a city that adopted me and held me up high enough to reach my own branch on the tree of success,” Perry said. “I love Atlanta and its people!”

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Superstar Tyler Perry goes on good deed spree: gives $21K tip to restaurant employees, pays for senior citizens’ food at 73 grocery stores

Actor and film producer Tyler Perry embarked on a mission to brighten people’s lives over the last few days.

What are the details?

reported that Perry, 50, donated $21,000 in tips to employees at an Atlanta, Georgia, restaurant on Sunday.

Perry, who ordered carry-out food service from Houston’s, reportedly left a $500 tip for each of the 42 “out of work servers” at the restaurant.

On Wednesday, the
Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Perry took his good-deed-doing even further — and paid for senior citizens’ food orders at 73 grocery stores in Atlanta, Georgia, and New Orleans, Louisiana.

Felix Turner, a spokesperson for Atlanta’s Kroger stores, lauded the filmmaker’s move.

“Senior and higher-risk Kroger shoppers in metro Atlanta did receive a nice surprise at the register this morning when they learned Tyler Perry had paid their grocery tab in full,” Turner said in a statement. “We would like to join our customers in thanking Mr. Perry for his kindness and generosity during this unprecedented pandemic. It was truly a pleasure to see our customers fill with joy and gratitude as the news spread throughout 44 stores across metro Atlanta.”

A source told People that Perry — who was born in New Orleans, but lives in Atlanta — wanted to do something “special” for those he considers his neighbors.

“He wanted to do something special to provide immediate relief for some of the most vulnerable in the two cities he considers home,” the source said on Wednesday.

reported that Perry did the very same thing at a variety of Winn-Dixie stores in the New Orleans metropolitan area on Wednesday.

The station reported that Perry provided free groceries to elderly and at-risk shoppers to all 29 Louisiana stores, including stores in nearby Gramercy and Luling, as well as in Baton Rouge.

On Thursday, the “Today” show estimated that “thousands” of shoppers were impacted by Perry’s lavish generosity.