Reality Check: New Trump ad stokes fear, misleads public on Biden’s policing policies

MADISON, Wis. — President Donald Trump tries to stoke fear for a Joe Biden presidency by mischaracterizing the former vice president’s position on defunding police.

In a new ad entitled “Break In,” an elderly white woman tries to call police when she hears someone breaking into her home, but according to the dispatcher’s voicemail, no one is available to take her call.

The ad claims “you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” implying that is because of Joe Biden’s stance on defunding police. An earlier part of the ad features a man – presumably a news anchor, though you never see him – saying, “Joe Biden says he’s absolutely on board with defunding the police. Listen closely,” before you hear Biden say, “yes, absolutely.”

That statement from Biden is taken out of context, and the ad itself is misleading.

Claim: Joe Biden wants to reduce police funding
Reality Check rating: Misleading

This claim comes from a NowThis interview Biden did with healthcare activist Ady Barkan.

“We can reduce some of the responsibilities assigned to police and redirect some of the funding into social services, mental health counseling and affordable housing,” Barkan said. “So for example, instead of sending two armed police officers to that Wendy’s drive thru in Atlanta, we could have sent a wellness counselor and a tow truck. And then Rayshard Brooks would still be alive today. His three daughters would still have their daddy. Would you be open to that kind of reform?”

“Yes,” Biden responded. “I proposed that kind of reform.”

Biden then goes on to explain his plan for criminal justice and policing reform, after which Barkan presses, “so we agree we can redirect some of the funding?”

“Yes, absolutely,” Biden responded. This is the part the Trump campaign uses in its ad.

Biden has not explicitly said he wants to defund the police. On his campaign site, he even said he wants to put $300 million into a community policing initiative, in which “officers are out of their cruisers and walking the streets, engaging with and getting to know members of their communities,” according to his website.

Multiple fact checkers have used this to label this ad as false, however many activists use the phrase “defund police” to mean reallocate some funding for police departments, and Biden agreed he supported that.