Morgan Freeman doesn’t support defunding the police

Freeman shared his views on police work: “It is very necessary for us to have them and most of them are guys that are doing their job"

39th Life Achievement Award recipient Morgan Freeman speaks at the 39th AFI Life Achievement Award honoring Morgan Freeman held at Sony Pictures Studios on June 9, 2011 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for AFI)
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Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman said he is “not in the least bit for defunding the police.” 

Freeman and actor Frankie Faison sat down for an interview with Selena Hill of Black Enterprise, who asked both actors about their stance on policing.

26th Annual Critics Choice Awards
In this screengrab, Morgan Freeman speaks at the 26th Annual Critics Choice Awards on March 07, 2021. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for the Critics Choice Association)

“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,” Freeman said. “They’re going about their day-to-day jobs. There are some police that would never pull their guns except in range, that sort of thing.”

“Well, I agree with Morgan,” Faison said. “I’m certainly not in favor of defunding the policemen.” 

Freeman made the comments as he and Faison were promoting their new film, The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain. 

Police fatally shot Chamberlain, 68, on Nov. 19, 2011, after arriving to his home when Chamberlain’s LifeAid medical alert necklace was inadvertently triggered. Despite insisting that he did not need assistance, officers broke down his door; Chamberlain was shot after charging them with a knife.

Chamberlain was a retired Marine and a 20-year veteran of the Westchester County Department of Corrections. The film stars Faison as Chamberlain and also stars Anika Noni Rose. The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain was released last month; Freeman serves as an executive producer. 

Earlier this year, Freeman and legal studies professor Linda Keena donated $1 million to establish the Center for Evidence-Based Policing and Reform at the University of Mississippi. 

“Look at the past year in our country – that sums it up,” Freeman said. “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.”

The center will be focused on building relationships with and sharing data with police agencies as well as using the data to enhance the preparation of students in criminal justice. 

In an interview with Ole Miss, Freeman was asked if any of the stories of police violence stuck out in his memory. “All the stories are stuck in my mind,” he said. “I often talk to police officers when I see them out and ask how they would do their work if they didn’t have guns. Support of this center is about finding ways to help officers and arrive at solutions.”

“The goal should be to give officers as many tools as possible to do their jobs more effectively,” said Keena, an associate professor of criminal justice. “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 re-certified in the use of their guns each year is not sufficient.”

Freeman was born in Memphis and raised in Mississippi. He resides in Charleston, Miss. and maintains a residence in New York City. 

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