Commentary: Critical Race Enthusiasts Should Learn the Lesson of ‘Defund the Police’

Crowd of people in the streets, protesting and Black Lives Matter movement

A year ago, “defund the police” activists were having quite a time. Outlets like CNN and Vox were publishing fawning profiles. Social media sensations like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar were leading the parade. Cities like Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Austin even approved partial defundings. It was a juggernaut.

Now? A tough-on-crime former cop just won the Democratic mayoral nomination in Bill de Blasio’s New York. Former President Barack Obama is warning fellow Democrats, “You lost a big audience the minute you say [‘defund the police’].” Sen. Bernie Sanders has rejected calls for “no more policing.” And White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, a few weeks ago, bizarrely claimed that it was not Democrats but Republicans who wanted to defund the police (because they opposed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill).

What happened? Intoxicated by a few policy wins in deep blue cities, enthusiasm in the left-leaning Twitter echo chamber, and their viselike grip on the national media, “defund” activists overlooked one important detail: Their agenda was deeply unpopular with most Americans. A summer 2020 YouGov poll found that just 16 percent of adults wanted to cut police funding — much less “defund” the police. Indeed, 81 percent of black Americans wanted police to spend as much or more time in their communities. During a year when major American cities saw an unnerving increase in homicides, after years of declines, that reaction was not just understandable, it was wholly predictable.  

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Law Enforcement Officers Fired for Inaction in Parkland Shooting Get Jobs Back, Vacation Pay

Two of the police officers who lost their jobs over inaction during the deadliest school shooting in American history have gotten their jobs back, with back and vacation pay.

Arbitrators reinstated them and could do the same for a third officer as well. Federal Judge Keathan Frink affirmed the arbitrators’ decisions in a May 13 ruling, the Associated Press reports.

Broward County deputies Brian Miller and Joshua Stambaugh were among the police who responded to a February 14, 2018 mass school shooting report at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

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Commentary: Chauvin Verdict Disappointed Democrats

Tuesday afternoon the Democrats and the Left at large got exactly what they said they wanted from the trial of Derek Chauvin. The jury found him guilty of all three counts — second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter — with which he had been charged in the death of George Floyd. Yet prominent Democrats who commented on the verdict seemed slightly bewildered and disappointed. Their collective response was captured in this statement from Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison: “I would not call today’s verdict justice, because justice implies restoration.” This is an odd assertion coming from the man who orchestrated Chauvin’s prosecution and secured an unequivocal conviction.

It is particularly odd considering that the city of Minneapolis agreed in March to pay $27 million to settle a civil suit brought by George Floyd’s family pursuant to his death. Neither that settlement nor Chauvin’s conviction will restore George Floyd’s life, of course, but it is all one can reasonably expect from the legal system. That, unfortunately, is the rub. When Ellison deploys words like “justice” and “restoration,” he isn’t talking about what most Americans think of when they hear such terms. He is claiming they are meaningless in a structurally racist legal system that is itself the root cause of tragedies like George Floyd’s death. This is what renowned legal scholar Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) means by this obloquy:

I don’t want this moment to be framed as this system working. Because it’s not working. We saw a murder in front of all of our eyes, and yet we didn’t know if there would be a guilty verdict — it tells you everything. Verdicts are not substitutes for policy change…. and there are way too many people including my colleagues that think that’s the case…. This one case and this one verdict, we still have people getting killed by police every single day on average in the United States…. We’re willing to accept violence against some communities as a necessary cost for “safety.”

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Violent Crimes Spike in Cities That Defunded Law Enforcement; Burned-Out Police Leaving in Droves

Group of police officers with cars stopped, one holding a gun

Crime is skyrocketing in cities where police departments have been defunded, crime statistics show.

Since career criminal George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis, last summer, many liberal city councils have voted to “defund” their police departments, allocating or redirecting municipal funds away from their police bureaus to other government agencies that serve “the community.”

More than 20 major cities have slashed their police budgets in some form, though the circumstances vary, according to Fox News.

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Over 100 Portland Police Officers Have Quit Over the Last Year

Group of police officers

After almost a year of nonstop violent riots by Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and other far-left domestic terrorist organizations in the city of Portland, over 100 of the city’s police officers have quit the force out of protest of the city’s failure to adequately handle the violence, according to Fox News.

The report first came from the newspaper The Oregonian, which said that since July of 2020, approximately 115 officers have left the department to take lower-paying jobs just to get out of the dangerous environment. The paper described it as “one of the biggest waves of departures in recent memory.”

Out of 31 exit interviews from officers who left during this time period, the general consensus was that the officers quit because they felt that they were receiving “zero support” from the community and local leadership. One officer said that “the city council are raging idiots, in addition to being stupid,” and that “the mayor and council ignore actual facts on crime and policing in favor of radical leftist and anarchist fantasy.”

As a result of the spike in riots, which began last summer after the accidental overdose death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis, Portland also saw its homicide rate surge to its highest point in 26 years, with 55 deaths over the course of 2020. Numerous efforts by Mayor Ted Wheeler (D-Ore.) to try to curb gun violence in the city, through special police forces and various multi-million dollar studies, have all failed thus far. Wheeler and other local leaders were widely criticized for refusing to crack down on the riots, with their inaction attributed to the fact that they shared many of the same political stances as the far-left rioters.

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Analysis: The Stated Goals of the Black Lives Matter Impact Report

Crowd of Black Lives Matter protestors.

Political activists who call for defunding police and ending what they call systemic racism used the banner of Black Lives Matter to raise tens of millions of dollars and launch a political action committee, according to the main organization’s “2020 Impact Report.”

The 42-page report declares victories in the election of two Democrats to the U.S. Senate in Georgia’s runoffs as well as three Democrats to the U.S. House from Texas, New York, and Missouri.

The report credits the new PAC for coordinating get-out-the-vote efforts. The main Black Lives Matter organization also entered the legislative fray for the first time while making generous grants to allied organizations.

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Senator Mark Warner: ‘Defund the Police’ Slogan Led to Democratic Losses

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said Friday that the “defund the police” movement championed by progressives led to losses for Democrats in the recent election.

“I think the ability, using terms like ‘defund the police’ have led to Democratic losses in this last year,” Warner, a moderate Democrat, said in an interview with WAMU, The Hill reported.

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