Tags: George Floyd Protests | police | funding | victims

Defend, Not Defund Police

protesters carrying signs
Hundreds of students and faculty protest the presence of an armed police force on the campus of Portland State University. (John Rudoff/Sipa via AP Images)

By Monday, 15 June 2020 10:17 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Americans everywhere were shocked to witness the repeatedly televised video showing savagely slow strangulated torture and murder of George Floyd, an unarmed and unresisting black man, by Derick Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, as three of his partners passively looked on. The horrific scene provoked many thousands of legitimately outraged people in several cities to protest and petition for greater accountability of police conduct, most particularly with regard to prejudicial treatments of black populations.

There are indisputable justifications for demanding more scrutiny and transparency about offenses by individual officers. Derick Chauvin had received 17 prior complaints leading to two official letters of reprimand.

President Trump, who calls himself "the president of law and order," called the video "shocking," and he promised the Floyd family that justice will be served.

Some of the constitutionally guaranteed peaceful protests, however devolved into disorder and lawlessness that caused other brutal and senseless deaths.

David Dorn, a retired 77-year-old black former small town Missouri police captain was shot and killed outside a pawn shop owned by a friend he was trying to protect from looters who had taken advantage of St. Louis protest bedlam to commit thievery. Four active service officers were shot in St. Louis. A Las Vegas officer was shot in the head and critically wounded by an assailant. Two New York police were shot, another was stabbed, and nearly 400 others were injured during the two weeks of demonstrations.

Peaceful protests by the vast majorities also led to widespread property destruction and pillaging of stores, including many black-owned businesses, by closely orchestrated coordinated bands of opportunists. Police attempts to intervene during the climate of mob chaos and bedlam were often overwhelmed.

Meanwhile, this latest of high-profile incidents in which unarmed black men have died or suffered injuries during interactions with police has prompted public officials in more than a dozen cities across the country to call for defunding police departments, or even for abolishing them.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was hooted from a protest because he didn't want to defund the police. Members of the Minneapolis city council have pledged to dismantle the force altogether, whether he wants to or not. They propose to replace their entire police force with a "community-led public safety system."

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wants to redirect $150 million from police public safety to social programs.

Paul di Giacomo, president of the Detectives' Endowment Association in New York, told Fox News that his union's 19,000 active and retired police officers now feel "abandoned by everyone." He said, "There is no one supporting the police, from the governor to the mayor to the D.A.'s to the city council."

Di Giacomo also blamed local prosecutors for not pursuing suspects who assaulted detectives.

Conditions have worsened since Democrat lawmakers recently gave judges more discretion to set cash bail for some offenders who present a public safety risk. Yet Chief Terence Monahan said that while police made 650 arrests, almost all were released without bail.

Monahan reported, "We had some arrests in Brooklyn where they had guns [and] hopefully [Brooklyn district attorney] Eric Gonzalez will keep them in, [but] I can't guarantee that will happen. But when it comes to a burglary [at] a commercial store, which is looting, they're back out on the street the next day."

New York City's new bail law gives nonviolent offenders a get-out-of-jail-free card. In January, a man who stuck up six banks in two weeks was repeatedly released after each arrest. He told a detective. "I can't believe they let me out."

This year, San Francisco's new District Attorney Chesa Boudin eliminated cash bail, stopped prosecuting "victimless" crimes and suspended the city's practice of upgrading charges against repeat offenders.

Whereas some increases in lawlessness in Democrat-controlled states, counties and cities may also be due to releasing criminals from jails to stem coronavirus infections, a surge preceded these pandemic responses.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Minneapolis property and violent crime had increased by 33% and 29%, respectively, through mid-March when Hennepin County reduced its jail population by 40%. That Minneapolis crime rate has been climbing since Mayor Frey entered office in 2018 and began pushing for more relaxed law enforcement.

Minneapolis car-jackings were up 45%, homicides 60%, arson 58%, and burglaries 28% from January through May 30, compared to the same period last year. Violent crime overall, was 16% higher, and property crime 20% higher than recent lows in 2018. As police have eased up, violent crime has increased nearly twice as much in the minority third precinct in Minneapolis as citywide since 2018.

Thanks in part to Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio's weak policing policies, shootings in New York City increased 18%, burglaries 31%, and car-jackings 64% during the first five months of this year over the same period last year. There were also about 1,279 more burglaries, 1,078 more cars stolen, and 57 more shooting victims. Almost all of these were outside of Manhattan's business district. In New York's Harlem neighborhood which had previously benefited enormously from anti-crime mayors, murders have soared 160% this year over last, while burglaries are up 56% and car-jackings have more than doubled.

In San Francisco, homicides before the riots this year had increased by 19%, burglaries by 23% and arson 39% over last year, while Philadelphia reported a 28% increase in commercial burglaries, 51% in shootings, 22% in auto theft, and 28% in retail theft over last year.

Tragic Chicago homicide rates are certainly nothing new, although 18 people were killed on May 31 alone, the single most violent day in that city in six decades. Over the full weekend, 25 people were killed by gunfire and another 85 were wounded. None of these deaths or shootings involved police. Nor were there any massive protests or news coverage of these attacks. Of the 492 homicides in Chicago last year, only three of them involved police.

As African-American Wall Street Journal opinion contributor Jason Riley notes, defunding the police will only result in more black lives lost in neighborhoods that need protecting most. He writes, "We know from decades of experience that when police pull back, criminals gain the advantage and black communities suffer, both physically and economically."

Owners of Walmart and Target stores in Chicago that were looted last week haven't yet decided whether to reopen. If not, many low-skilled minority workers they employ, along with many thousands of low-income residents who depend on their services, will be among the biggest surviving lawlessness victims.

Larry Bell is a senior visiting scholar at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. He is also an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. Larry has written more than 600 articles for Newsmax and Forbes and is the author of several books. Included are: "Cyberwarfare: Targeting America, Our Infrastructure and Our Future" (2020), "The Weaponization of AI and the Internet: How Global Networks of Infotech Overlords are Expanding Their Control Over Our Lives" (2019), "Reinventing Ourselves: How Technology is Rapidly and Radically Transforming Humanity" (2019), "Thinking Whole: Rejecting Half-Witted Left & Right Brain Limitations" (2018), "Reflections on Oceans and Puddles: One Hundred Reasons to be Enthusiastic, Grateful and Hopeful" (2017), "Cosmic Musings: Contemplating Life Beyond Self" (2016), "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom" (2015) and "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax" (2011). He is currently working on a new book with Buzz Aldrin, "Beyond Footprints and Flagpoles." Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.

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This latest of high-profile incidents in which unarmed black men have died or suffered injuries during interactions with police has prompted public officials in more than a dozen cities across the country to call for defunding police departments, or even for abolishing them.
police, funding, victims
Monday, 15 June 2020 10:17 AM
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