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Video: Actor Morgan Freeman: ‘I’m not the least bit for defunding police’

Morgan Freeman at the 2012 Golden Camera in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo by JCS, Wikimedia Commons/Released)
October 11, 2021

Actor Morgan Freeman expressed his support for law enforcement when he said in a Sept. 30 interview that he is opposed to defunding police, and instead favors efforts to reform police work.

Freeman voiced his opposition to defunding the police during an interview with Black Enterprise’s Selena Hill, while promoting his new film called “The Killing Of Kenneth Chamberlain.” The film centers around the true 2011 story of an elderly black Marine veteran being killed by police.

“I’m not in the least bit for defunding the police,” Freeman said during the interview. “Police work is, aside from all the negativity around it, it is very necessary for us to have them and most of them are guys that are doing their job. They’re going about their day-to-day jobs. There are some police the never pulled their guns except in rage, that sort of thing. I don’t know.”

Freeman said police work in the past “has not been a merciful operation” adding, “particularly in the black community and poorer community, the more chance there is going to be of people being shot and killed for little or no reason.” Freeman then said he sees a possibility for police reform through the electoral process.

Actor Frankie Faison, who also appeared for the interview and played the film’s titular character, said he is also opposed to defunding the police.

“I agree with Morgan,” Faison said. “I’m certainly not in favor of defunding the police but at the same time . . . we as entertainment people in the arts, we’re treated a little differently by law enforcement than people who are just ordinary walks of life, so it’s very unlikely that if someone, police officers recognize you from film and television or athletics or music or anything, they treat you differently and I would like for that to stop. I want us all to be treated equally.”

Faison said if faced in a similar situation as Chamberlain, he would likely benefit from being able to tell police he is an actor “but there may be those officers who could come to my door who never heard of me or those officers who come to my door who really don’t care and then I would find myself in a very similar situation [as Chamberlain]. I want to shed light on that aspect of our police involvement with a community of civilians, especially the black community.”

In June, Freeman and University of Mississippi professor Linda Keena donated $1 million to the university to help establish a Center for Evidence-Based Policing and Reform, WJTV of Jackson, Mississippi reported. Freeman said at the time, “Look at the past year in our country – that sums it up. It’s time we are equipping police officers with training and ensuring ‘law enforcement’ is not defined only as a gun and a stick. Policing should be about that phrase ‘To Serve’ found on most law enforcement vehicles.”

Keena said, “The goal should be to give officers as many tools as possible to do their jobs more effectively. Our faculty will address critical issues inherently interwoven in the current and historic landscape of policing such as race, class, bias, and lack of compassion. Requiring law enforcement only to be recertified in the use of their guns each year is not sufficient.”