To the Editor: On July 27, Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-SC) spoke about his friend and colleague, the late Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), on MSNBC. Clyburn said that while of course they both supported and celebrated the Black Lives Matter protests and police reform, neither he nor Lewis supported the idea of "defund the police."

The main reason they opposed the message "defund the police," he said, was that it reminded them of the chants in the mid-1960s of "Burn, baby, burn" that seemed to support or defend  criminal behavior during some of the protests. Clyburn said that just when the civil-rights protests were gaining momentum, the chants of "Burn, baby, burn" damaged the non-violent message of Rev. Martin Luther King, John Lewis, and other civil-rights leaders.

Clyburn said he believes that "defund the police" was simply the wrong message, and would play into the hands of those who would deny civil rights to minorities and oppose real police reform.

MICHAEL J. GORMAN


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