Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr attempted to debunk the notion that he supports the idea of defunding the police in a podcast interview Monday.
Kerr explained in an interview with Spotify’s “Jemele Hill Is Unbothered” that he was lumped into the “defund the police” crowd because he supported a measure in Oakland, Calif., that removed police officers from school campuses. As the measured passed, Kerr took exception with how he was being labeled.
“It was a hugely controversial issue. And now I am known as someone who believes in defunding the police,” Kerr told Hill. “I’ve never made a comment about defunding the police. And in fact, I think it’s a terribly misleading phrase to say defund the police. I was referring to schools, right, and the Oakland city school in particular, after listening to parents and teachers.”
He said the nuance of his decision was lost.
“So I’m taking all kinds of s—t right now for being the guy who wants to defund the police. I happen to think the police should be reimagined, not defunded. You know, I think we need police, but I think, I think we need to reimagine the role of the police, got to get back to protect and serve, not to chase down and murder. And that may sound extreme, but it’s kind of the truth when you watch all these acts of violence happening.”
The Oakland Unified School District Board unanimously approved the measure in June. Oakland police will only go to the school for emergency calls, according to KGO-TV.
Kerr praised the move at the time.
Former district security guard Tony Hegler told the station at the time he thought it was a bad move.
“I think it’s a dangerous mistake,” he said. “That’s telling people that the school zone is a free-for-all for criminal activity.”
The San Francisco Unified School District also voted to remove San Francisco police officers from schools as well.