Activist responds to Texas Sen. John Whitmire's opinion on public safety

Reforming the criminal justice system is a top priority for State Senator John Whitmire. 

But Sunday night on, "Texas, The Issue Is," Whitmire, a Democrat from Houston, provided a harsh assessment on social justice changes brought on by progressive members of his own political party.

"The nonsense of experimenting with defunding police, so you could then fund other programs is just wrong," said Sen. Whitmire (D) Houston.

Progressive Democrats, like Chas Moore, who is with the Austin Justice Coalition, spoke about what the Senator said.

"So like for him to say that, ‘this is all nonsense,’ to me in my individual Black opinion, it diminishes the stories of people like Trayvon Martin, the Eric Gardner, the Breonna Taylors like the Sandra Blands," said Moore.

Chas Moore is a key player in the social justice reform movement in Austin.

"I think on my take on these topics is he's missing the mark. And I think he's kind of showing his, lack for a better word, age. I think, I think as time has progressed that people have not only smartened up, but have become more compassionate to criminal legal system," said Moore.

Moore also takes exception to Sen. Whitmire’s concern regarding bail reform.

"Data would show that we're allowing repeat violent offenders on the streets of Houston, in Harris County and other urban settings. So while we tried to fix the bond issue for low level offenders, it has also allowed the more violent offenders to be released," said Senator Whitmire.

Moore did agree the reform movement is somewhat of an experiment, but defended the process.

"Which, it's a lot of like, you know, that didn't work. This isn't working. I absolutely do think this, that prison only exacerbates more violence," said Moore.

FOX 7 asked Moore how would he feel if an individual with a violent criminal history gets arrested for a traffic offense, goes to jail, gets out on a PR bond, then comes out and robs him. 

"I think most of us agree that you should not harm another person. You should not steal things from other people. And I think once we break this kind of invisible public communal agreement that we have, you should be held accountable. To what extent? You know, I think we still have to have the conversations and dialog and experimentation to find out. But there's no way I'm going to agree that. That the solution to that is locking somebody up in prison, like behind bars, like an animal," said Moore.

Moore is also critical of the Senator's criticism of another progressive idea. It involves a mass release of non-violent offenders in order to East Court backlogs. 

Whitmire considers that to be unacceptable and said judges should simply work overtime to clear their dockets.

Moore believes any increase in crime is linked to the lack of opportunity in communities. Sen. Whitmire, however, makes no apology for his break with progressive members of the party regarding crime.