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