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Abbott accuses O'Rourke of supporting efforts to defund police, O'Rourke pushes back

Gov. Greg Abbott attacks Beto O'Rourke on police reform in Fort Worth
Gov. Greg Abbott attacks Beto O'Rourke on police reform in Fort Worth 02:25

FORT WORTH, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - After the Fort Worth and Austin Police Associations endorsed Gov. Greg Abbott for a third term, Abbott accused his Democratic opponent Beto O'Rourke of supporting efforts to defund the police.

"Beto's approach to defund the police is an extraordinarily dangerous approach, a deadly approach," Abbott said.

Abbott's remarks in Fort Worth on Wednesday referred to comments O'Rourke made about defunding the police during the "Looking Ahead to Beto Days" podcast in June of 2020, after George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer.

"I really love that Black Lives Matters and other protesters have put this front and center, to defund, you know these line items that have overmilitarized our police and instead invest that money in the human capital of your community, make sure that you have the services, the help, the support, the health care necessary to be well and not require police intervention," O'Rourke said. "And then also in some necessary cases, completely dismantling those police forces and rebuilding them."

Abbott's news conference comes amid his campaign's ad blitz on this issue. 

An O'Rourke campaign spokesman pointed to Abbott's ads as heavily edited and misleading, and said O'Rourke was only speaking out about the Minneapolis police department and not any departments in Texas.

The spokesman said when O'Rourke was a city councilman and Congressman representing El Paso, he voted to increase police funding.

His campaign sent a video from July of this year to CBS 11 featuring O'Rourke answering a supporter who approved of defunding the police.  

O'Rourke said, "I don't see eye to eye with you on defunding the police. I want to make sure that we can count on the police and that means making sure they have the resources and funding they need and training that they need."

When asked about this, Abbott said O'Rourke has a credibility problem. 

"This is a reoccurring problem that Beto has," Abbott said. "He says one thing from running for one office and a completely different thing running for a different office."

Abbott's campaign said it's been backed by 17 law enforcement organizations across the state.

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