Pastor Darrell Scott blasts 'irresponsible' calls to defund or disband police: 'Politicizing current social events'

The prospect of defunding or dismantling police forces across the United States is "irresponsible" and a politicization of current social events, Pastor Darrell Scott said Wednesday.

Giving testimony during the House Judiciary Committee's Oversight Hearing on "Policing Practices and Law Enforcement Accountability," Scott labeled calls to disband law enforcement institutions meant to serve and protect their communities as "reactionary," but warned that action to do so could result in "short and long-term damage to American society."

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Scott, a senior pastor for the New Spirit Revival Center and a member of President Trump’s executive transition team, said he didn't recommend "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" by labeling "all police officers as 'bad cops'" because of the "bad actions of a rogue segment."

Scott also recognized that the elimination of excessive force and physical retaliation by officers of the law against American citizens is "paramount" and that racial profiling and the harsh treatment of minorities is "a very real reality that must be eliminated immediately."

That said, he forewarned that the absence of a just force to combat the "criminal element" would be a threat to law-abiding members of society and giving way to "acts of domestic terrorism, mob rule, neighborhood intimidation and oppression, and vigilante-ism."

FILE - In this April 18, 2016 file photo, Pastor Darrell Scott listens at left as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks in Trump Tower building in New York. Competing appearances earlier this month by Trump and Hillary Clinton highlight an oft-overlooked political reality: The “religious vote” is vast and complex, and it extends beyond generalizations about “social conservatives” who side with Republicans and black Protestant churches whose pastors and parishioners opt nearly unanimously for Democrats. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

FILE - In this April 18, 2016 file photo, Pastor Darrell Scott listens at left as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks in Trump Tower building in New York. Competing appearances earlier this month by Trump and Hillary Clinton highlight an oft-overlooked political reality: The “religious vote” is vast and complex, and it extends beyond generalizations about “social conservatives” who side with Republicans and black Protestant churches whose pastors and parishioners opt nearly unanimously for Democrats. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) (The Associated Press)

"The weak, the timid, the elderly, retail establishments, single mother and youth would be especially vulnerable to criminal activity, as evidenced by the looting and vandalism of the past few weeks," Scott rationalized.

According to the pastor, those cities that have already taken steps to defund their departments have "made conditions much worse," citing his home city of Cleveland, Ohio.

Sixteen years ago, Cleveland laid off 285 officers and their department's budget was slashed by almost a third.

Scott painted a bleak picture of present-day Cleveland.

"Response time is dramatically longer. Murder rates have climbed. Property crimes are at record levels. Aggravated robberies are higher. Drug sale, use, and abuse [are] higher. Drug and alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents are the highest they have ever been," he listed.

"Cleveland has [gone] from a relatively safe city, per capita, to an unbelievably unsafe city," Scott said.

"Homicides are up 55 percent in Cleveland from this time last year, and Cleveland now has a higher murder rate -- per 100,000 residents -- than Chicago," he added.

Who's to blame? Scott blames politicians.

"Police departments are only as effective as politicians and their appointees allow them to be. Politicians and appointees are directly responsible for the state of their police departments," he remarked. "Law-abiding citizens overwhelmingly think that defunding and/or disbanding police departments is a bad idea!"

Scott urged for America to no longer "allow this paradigm to continue," noting that community policing is a very viable option.

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"When I was growing up, the residents and business owners knew the police officers that were assigned to our neighborhoods and their presence was a deterrent to criminal activity," he recalled.

"We cannot allow that paradigm to continue if we want the neighborhoods of America to be safe to live in, the streets of America to be safe for residents to walk on, and the communities of America conducive for businesses to thrive in," Scott concluded.