Issues & Insights
Man stands on burning car during Minneapolis demonstrations. Photo: Lorie Shaull, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Worst ‘Progressive’ Idea Yet: Hey, Let’s Get Rid Of The Police!

I&I Editorial

Awful ideas have sprung up from the craziness of this annus horribilis like poison mushrooms after spring rain. But no idea is as bad as Big City mayors and their D.C. Democrat allies calling for the abolition of police departments. Do they not understand that, without enforcement, there can be no rule of law? Or is that the idea?

The left’s war on the very idea of the law now seemingly knows no bounds.

Politicians have all but declared open season on their police departments, even as they decry the mayhem, chaos, death and destruction from more than a week of violent protests nationwide following the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Unless you’ve been quarantined without access to the internet, you know that Floyd died while in the custody of the Minneapolis police as an officer kneeled on his neck.

There has been no trial, no official investigation of Floyd’s death, and yet the all-left Minneapolis city council has already proposed a solution: Defund the police department.

“We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department,” says a June 4 tweet from City Councilman Jeremiah Ellison. “We are going to dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response.”

Progressive Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey opposes the idea. He thought he might prevail when he addressed an abolish-the-police crowd in his city over the weekend. He was wrong. He was booed, jeered and taunted, and forced to endure what more than one media outlet referred to as a “walk of shame” as he departed.

Mobs aren’t known for their tolerance.

In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti has already pushed for $250 million in cuts, mostly to the police budget, to pay for health care, jobs and “healing” in mostly African-American neighborhoods.

Over the weekend, Garcetti ratcheted up his anti-police rhetoric, apparently referring to the police as “killers.”

The Los Angeles Police Protective League responded quickly, calling Garcetti “unstable” and not-so-subtly suggesting, “Eric has apparently lost his damn mind.”

Not to be outdone, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also moved to “defund” the police.

“This morning we committed to move resources from the NYPD to youth and social services as part of our city’s budget,” he said. “Our young people need to be reached, not policed. We can do this AND keep our city safe.”

Remember, this is the same politician who a week earlier threatened to sic the police on an orthodox Jewish funeral because mourners were violating pandemic protocols.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. took things a step further. He refused to enforce the laws, letting rioters and looters go without any charges at all, a gross dereliction of his duty to uphold the law.

Vance added that this isn’t just a one-time thing, that his office will “evaluate and decline to prosecute other protest-related charges where appropriate.”

Meanwhile, congressional Democrats are running scared, denying they support defunding the police. They know their constituents are fed up with the chaos. And President Donald Trump is, as always, holding their feet to the fire on Twitter.

“The radical left Democrats new theme is “Defund the Police”. Remember that when you don’t want crime, especially against you and your family,” Trump tweeted. “This is where Sleepy Joe is being dragged by the socialists. I am the complete opposite, more money for law enforcement! #LAWANDORDER

Yes, it’s one thing to say that police should be held accountable for their actions. Cops that kill must answer for what they did, just as everyone else in our society.

And, of course, police departments, just like our armed forces, are, and should be, accountable to elected civilian control. But slashing budgets or eliminating police entirely is dangerous, an assault on public safety. Citizens who consent to this madness will regret it, and deeply, very soon.

We don’t believe law enforcement should be immune to reform, though. There can be improvement. Some law enforcement officers are indifferent, others are terrible.

But the voguish idea among the far-left politicians that now govern many major American cities is just plain crazy. Abolishing, or at minimum, shrinking law enforcement to the point officers become little more than unarmed parking-meter cops is a threat to our republic, from the ground up.

It’s an attempt by cynical leftist politicians who despise this country to use this new crisis, just as they did with coronavirus and the Russian-collusion crisis, to split Americans sharply along racial and political lines. The ultimate goal is to dissolve the very institutions that keep us from descending into chaos.

Now let’s play the imagine game.

“Imagine,” as the late Beatle John Lennon (himself a murder victim) might have said, “no policemen.” OK. Now also imagine someone tries to kill you. Or an organized mob descends on your house to burn it down, or steal all you own. Or thugs threaten to ransack your small business, rob you of years of savings and hard work, leaving you broke. Or someone sexually assaults your spouse, son, or daughter.

Who would you call? A neighborhood security captain for the Democrats? A local politician? A bureaucrat? A local crime-watch crew? A really good therapist?

The answer is no one would come to your aid in a timely manner and be prepared, trained and willing to protect you. In such an environment, crime would grow. Entire cities would become unlivable, as parts of many now are, thanks to ever-more-lax policing imposed by leftist city governments.

As for the death of George Floyd, it was a tragedy, and four people have been charged with crimes. But such events aren’t, as current coverage suggests, common.

Mapping Police Violence recently counted 28 unarmed blacks and 51 unarmed whites who died at the hands of police in 2019,” wrote blogger Hans Bader. Every one of these deaths is a personal and familial tragedy. But in a population of 330 million, they hardly constitute what some have called an “epidemic” of police violence across the nation.

Meanwhile, anyone in a city where police abolition is even being contemplated might consider an abrupt move elsewhere. Once outlaws know they can get away with their crimes, you can’t easily roll things back. The streets won’t be safe anymore. Lives will be ruined and taken, and property destroyed. Our freedom will be curtailed. Is that what Americans want?

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • If I were a policeman, with a family, I would not wait to be defunded. I would quit. How many police unions have endorsed the same Democrat who now has put a target on their back? I have little to no sympathy for these progressive cities, I just hope they never regain control of our country.

  • If you are a muslim wishing to institute police no-go zones and Sharia gangs dealing out 6th century justice on Minneapolis streets with out American governmental interference, then . . . get rid of the police!

  • If libs get rid of the police, who’s going to arrest the police?

  • What would happen if the police said we have had enough and started rioting, except with guns. Who would stop them? They could clear out all the politicians, reporters, liberal judges and thugs in one night.

  • are all these politicians ready to give up their personal police protection? i doubt it

  • The “defunder” crowd needs to realize what life would be like after they get rid of the “evil police”. That kind of change will cause city wide destabilization. Without someone to enforce law and order, many people of means (and their families) would depopulate the city in a hurry. Businesses would flee quickly as well. This means the tax base would dry up as property values fall and the city would collapse as all services tail spin down the toilet. The city would descend into chaos much faster than you would imagine. Hopefully more clear thinking adults join effort to bring sanity to the city council before another American city is voluntarily forced into ruin. It is impossible for communities to just “protect themselves” without anarchy following in close pursuit. Removing a professional police force from a city is a fast way to turn it into a lawless border city like Tijuana.

  • The “unarmed deaths” statistics published by the Washington Post are lower than those referenced in this article.

    • True enough. We used a different data set. The Washington Post data refer to unarmed people who were shot and killed by officers, not all those who died in custody, for various reasons including being shot. The latter is a broader measure of deaths, which is why it was used. George Floyd was not shot and killed. He died for other reasons. There are numerous ways to slice and dice the numbers. Still, even with the larger numbers that we used, however, the point remains: There is no “epidemic” of police violence against African Americans, though they represent a somewhat higher share of total deaths than their share of the population.

      • And what population percentages are we referencing? In terms of a national population, yes, they are high. But where did these killings occur? Large urban cities with a high racial imbalance? It seems these data points are ‘gerrymandered’ like votes, in order to produce a desired outcome.

  • The Democrats are being hijacked by a soft but noisy mob of emotionally-reactionary children who are ravaged by white guilt and driven by attitudes of paternalistic racism. The vast majority of Americans, including blacks, do not support the tribalism and stupidity we’ve been witnessing in the big cities these past few weeks. Trump is successfully baiting the clueless old leaders of the Democratic Party to align themselves with these young radicals, going further and further to the left, until Biden, Pelosi, Schumer et al find themselves tumbling off a cliff and into the deep chasm of failed, forgotten politicians.

  • The urban African-American community that now has the sociopaths that label themselves, “black lives matter”, it is such a fake disingenuous term, it’s only, “certain black lives matter, certainly not yours!”

    You better read up on sociopathy folks, the black lives matter crowd is full of them, and if you let them maintain the narrative and rhetoric, they eventually will have you kneeling, to be decapitated…

  • This article misrepresents what progressives have proposed, which is essentially the same as was implemented in the 1980s by conservatives, to completely replace the Air Traffic Controllers nationwide. They had the temerity to negotiate for higher wages; can you imagine!? Here we have a real need to fire everybody as a message and then rehire those who are willing to do the job they have always signed up to do, plus some new blood. It’s a way to break a corrupt union management.

    • So when everyone is fired, what else happen while you are waiting to hopefully rehired few cops? Will they have to kneel before BLM to be considered acceptable?

  • Kids speak in idealistic metaphors, while their emotional outrage generally carries the sort of truth that adults trained to behave and stfu do not dare to express.
    The meaning here is “get rid of the militarized, gang-style, mafia police as we know of them today.” If you are an adult who cannot grasp this, that’s on you not the people making the rough-hewn statements. “When I was a child I spoke like a child … etc.”

    • Conservatives warned every one about Biden militarization of the police. Biden armed them with military vehicles etc,and now the chickens have come home to roost, the kids should do their homework.

  • Disarm the traitors who enforce unconstitutional gun laws and anyone who doesn’t want to be a victim should just carry a rifle at all times.

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