Dr. Phil had one of his guests Friday debate whether or not it’s possible to police the police and remove them from society.
“Defund the Police: Failure or Mistake?” In the episode titled, different views on the role that law enforcement agencies should play are included. Writer and podcaster Mychal Denzel Smith took a very controversial stance against the police, which caused a heated reaction from the host himself.
“When I say, ‘I don’t believe there is a need for the police,’ what I mean is that very little has been invested in creating conditions where the police are not needed,” Smith said.
“People are a creation of the society in which they live,” Smith said. “If you’re a society with enormous inequality, and you’re a society based on racial and gender hierarchies, and you’re a society that deprives people of the resources they need to survive—housing, clean water, food -food, all these things that are part of a just society, you’re talking about people doing desperate things to survive.”
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Smith then added, “You’re not going to solve anything by arresting these people. You’re not going to solve anything by shooting those people.”
Dr. Phil agreed with Smith on social issues, but took issue with the idea of solving them by removing the police.
“I agree 100% with the failures of society as to how he became a criminal, I mean we live in the here and now and if someone broke into my house and my wife was held hostage in the bedroom tonight, I wouldn’t give two shits [bleeped out expletive] about where they came from tonight,” said Dr. Phil. “All I care about is the solution tonight.”
Dr. Phil continued, “That’s not to say we don’t need to solve the problem so our grandchildren aren’t hostages in their bedrooms 20 years from now, but if you say we don’t need to. Because of developmental failures, policing is not going to solve problems that happen tonight, tomorrow night, the night after that, these things have to be dealt with.”
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Smith blamed this thought process on fear.
“I hear that fear is driving us to police more,” he said.
Dr. Phil made his point with a punch line: “No, this is the reality we live in.”
He later added, “What I’m describing is what’s happening, and we have to have barriers, we have to have someone to reach out to, there has to be someone at the end of 9-1-1.”
In a September 2020 op-ed in the Atlantic, Smith wrote: “‘Pay the Police’ is a call for repeal, full of ideas aimed at reducing the police force in the short term and destroying the police and the police in the long term.” is part of the package.
The Atlantic himself summed up his ideology in an Instagram post when he wrote: “Smith argues that the purpose of the police is to arrest and kill, not to seek justice or solve the problems that most harm marginalized communities such as poverty, unemployment, and mental retardation. illness or housing crisis.”