Proposed reforms at the federal level would not have saved the life of Tyre Nichols. Only the fundamental transformation of systems of punishment that have been normalized in American society and culture can do that.
Defunding the police is the first step in a longer process that may culminate in the end of policing in the United States. The repeated failure of meaningful reform have made concepts like “defunding” and “abolition” part of mainstream conversation.
As protests against police brutality grow, calls to abolish the police have become increasingly popular. While those demands have been shocking to many, they're not new. Calls for police abolitionism date to the earliest establishment of the police.
To really “fight crime,” we don’t need more cops; we need more jobs, more educational opportunities, more arts programs, more community centers, more mental health resources, and more of a say in how our own communities function.