Democratic leaders around the country are continuing to focus on crime and rebuilding their police forces following a year of “defund police” activism on the far-left in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis at the hands of cops in May 2020, which sparked nationwide rioting and protests that lasted for months.
“The phrase ‘defund the police’ not only became a rallying cry but served as a litmus test separating moderates from the progressive left,” Fox News reported Thursday.
Left-wing progressives pushed for the phrase to be acted on, not just spoken, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who responded to cuts to the NYPD last year as not nearly going far enough.
“Defunding police means defunding police. It does not mean budget tricks or funny math. It does not mean moving school police officers from the NYPD budget to the Department of Education’s budget so the exact same police remain in schools,” she said at the time.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), whose district includes Minneapolis, echoed her progressive ally when she called for the entire MPD to be dismantled because she said it is “rotten to the root.”
“We need to completely dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department. Because here’s the thing, there’s a cancer,” Omar told a rally in Minneapolis in June 2020.
Several city councils, all run by Democrats, followed suit, cutting hundreds of millions, collectively, from police budgets. In response, crime spiked in many of those same cities last year and into 2021, in some cases leading to new highs in terms of overall violence, shootings, and murder.
“According to the FBI, the U.S. experienced a nearly 30% jump in homicides in 2020 compared with the previous year,” Fox News reported.
Now, Democrats in these same cities are returning to traditional law-and-order policies as the situations have gotten steadily worse.
In San Francisco, for instance, Mayor London Breed announced a $120 million cut in police funding in July 2020, but this month she declared a state of emergency in the Tenderloin as open drug-dealing and shootings have made it too dangerous for kids and residents to be outdoors. In addition, she is now seeking emergency funding to beef up police and funding overtime as she moved to cancel vacations and other paid time off.
Across the bay in Oakland, Mayor Libby Schaaf also vowed to cut funds from her police department but that’s changed now, too: She’s now pledging to hire more cops after claiming many of them could be replaced with public workers who can respond to some traumatic situations instead of officers.
Her new promise came following a weekend that saw three murders including one of a former police officer acting as security for a news crew, bringing the number of homicides in the city to around 130 for the year.
In Chicago, “Mayor Lori Lightfoot proposed last year to cut $80 million from the city’s police budget,” Fox News noted, adding: “But on Monday the Democratic mayor begged the federal government to help combat crime and violence in the Windy City.”
In the summer of 2020, then-President Donald Trump regularly offered federal assistance to Lightfoot and other Democrat-run cities as violent protests soared but she and they refused the help.
At a news conference earlier this week, Lightfoot implored U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to dispatch Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to the city for six months to increase gun investigations and firearms seizures.
“Keeping you safe is my priority – not one of, but the first and primary priority,” Lightfoot claimed. “I wake every morning with this as my first concern and I push myself and all involved to step up and do more and better because we cannot continue to endure the level of violence that we are now experiencing.”
Democratic leaders in New York City, Minneapolis, and Portland, Ore., have also backtracked on defund police initiatives.
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