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Tyler Perry weighs in on the debate over defunding the police: 'We need more police'


'You gotta understand this: I am not for taking money from the police department'

Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Netflix

Media mogul Tyler Perry delivered his opinion on the movement to defund the police that has garnered notoriety since the nationwide protests against police brutality began in late May. The actor said he does not support "taking money from the police department" and proclaimed that "we need more police."

Perry appeared on "Anderson Cooper 360" Wednesday night, where he weighed in on the contentious debate over defunding the police.

"You gotta understand this: I am not for taking money from the police department," Perry told CNN host Anderson Cooper. "I think we need more police."

"My studio is in a neighborhood where I think we need police," Perry said. "But we don't need police that are undertrained."

Perry's $250 million film production facility, one of the largest studios in the U.S., is in the Sylvan Hills neighborhood in southwest Atlanta. In 2015, Perry purchased 330 acres of property that was formerly U.S. Army base Fort McPherson, which was controlled by the Confederate government after Georgia's secession in 1861.

"I think we need the police. I know that I need the police," Perry continued. "I have several that work for me here at the studio. We need them. But we need them reformed. We need them trained well, we need the right structure."

"I became very, very optimistic when everybody galvanized together, because I know that's when change comes," Perry said of the nationwide anti-police brutality movement following the death of George Floyd. "When people galvanize and come together as one, that's when change happens. But lately, I've been very, very concerned that the message is being hijacked by some other groups, or political ads and parties that are trying to stop the message of what we're asking for here is police reform."

"When I first heard it, I was troubled by it," Perry said of the movement to defund the police. "I thought, 'OK, this is gonna be weaponized in this political year.' I completely thought that that was happening, that's exactly what's happened. It's been weaponized."

"Some of the things inside of defund the police, I really understand," the multimillionaire entertainment mogul said. "Like having officers who are clinically trained to deal with certain situations. I think all of those things are helpful, but taking money from the police department to make the police department smaller, that troubles me."

In June, Perry wrote an essay in People magazine discussing police brutality.

"The level of racism and brutality that George Floyd faced is something that we as black people know all too well," Perry wrote. "When I saw that video, I had so many raw, guttural emotions. I felt for him and his family, I felt for all of us as black people, I felt for my five-year-old son."

In July, Perry teamed up with officers from the Atlanta Police Department to personally hand out 1,000 gift cards for the Kroger grocery store chain to Atlanta residents.

"This is about the community that I love, that I live and work in. This is about good people who are in need of a hand up, not a handout," Perry told ET. "This is about the good police officers who do their job well every day, some of which are my personal friends."

"This is about trying to bridge unity in a city that adopted me and held me up high enough to reach my own branch on the tree of success," Perry said. "I love Atlanta and its people!"

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