From Washington State to Washington, D.C., and beyond, the left-wing leaders of America’s biggest cities have embraced the defund-the-police movement – and it’s the residents, not the politicians, who pay the price. Crime has surged, and now these same leaders hearken to a new clarion call: increase law enforcement spending. Have these beloved leaders admitted they were wrong – or that the problem they strive to solve now is of their own creation? Of course not. They jumped immediately from defund to refund – to hell with accountability.
It’s the summer of 2020, and – despite coronavirus raging across the nation during the height of a pandemic – Black Lives Matter and Antifa are in the streets protesting the killing of George Floyd and police abuse in general. Cries to defund the police fill the nation’s capital as demonstrators – from violent, looting rioters to peaceful protesters – demand action. Where was D.C.’s Mayor Muriel Bowser? Like a good soldier, she was right there in the thick of it.
Now it’s a year later, and the butcher’s bill has come due. Just months after pushing for a cut to the police budget, Bowser loudly calls for more police funding. The mayor and city council redirected $15 million away from law enforcement in 2020 and a whopping $36 million for 2021. Violent crime – especially murder – is up, and the mayor now wants $11 million to hire 170 new police officers. The city council, however, is less inclined to return to “traditional policing” and has agreed to fund only 40 new officers. Bowser defended the reversal by explaining that she’s responding to a crime wave and the pleas for money from the police chief – but where’s the accountability for her previous stance? If the crime wave can be fixed by hiring more officers, then it stands to reason it only exists because she and the council cut funding. That is, she and the council are at least somewhat responsible for the increased number of homicides – yet no apology or mea culpa ever crossed her lips. Imagine that.
Bowser isn’t alone. Many fearless leaders across the nation have made the same 180-degree flip. New York City cut nearly a billion out of the police budget last year and added $200 million back this year. Oakland, CA, went from a goal of cutting funding by $150 million to asking for $38 million back. Despite the stereotypically conservative nature of the Lone Star State, Austin is and has for a while been run by Democrats. Last year the Texas city diverted $150 million from law enforcement to other priorities in 2020, only to pass the city’s largest police budget ever in 2021.
In Seattle, WA, the city council cut the police budget by about 20% – and more than 250 officers left the force. Now Mayor Jenny Durkan is calling for more cops to join the department. The number of shootings in Seattle increased 61% this year – with several months to go before year’s end. Portland, OR, Mayor Ted Wheeler allowed Antifa and BLM to destroy his city for more than a year. He went along with plans to cut the budget and called officers dangerous, stupid, and criminal. After 125 officers left, crime spiked. The mayor was even assaulted. And now the city needs more cops. Wheeler acknowledged the uphill battle his city faces in putting more officers on the streets to get a handle on things but seems to have forgotten his own behavior over the last year. The people haven’t forgotten, though. Much like in Seattle, attempts to hire new officers are falling flat. Simply put, no one wants to be a cop in a city like Seattle or Portland – not when even the city officials act vehemently anti-police.
These cities and many more spread across the nation have one thing in common: They’re run by Democrats and have been for years. Another thing most if not all share is that even as the cities’ liberal leaders cut funding to the police in general, they increased their personal police details, taking even more officers away from residents just as murder rates hit historic highs. There’s no admittance of guilt; there’s no apology. But will there be a reckoning? Will the people remember and hold these politicos accountable for the blood on their hands come election time – or will urbanites elect them, or someone else just like them, again?
Read more from James Fite.