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Blaze News original: 10 times 'defund the police' backfired
Photo by Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

Blaze News original: 10 times 'defund the police' backfired

'What they're doing now is vilifying the job. ... And it makes cops throw their hands up in the air and say, "I'm not going to do this job any more."'

Less than two weeks after George Floyd died in the custody of Minneapolis police in May 2020, prominent city council members gathered in front of activists and pledged to start dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department.

"Decades of police reform efforts have proved that the Minneapolis Police Department cannot be reformed and will never be accountable for its actions," the council members stated, according to the Star Tribune. "We are here today to begin the process of ending the Minneapolis Police Department and creating a new, transformative model for cultivating safety in Minneapolis."

In addition to cutting police budgets and doing away with many officers, numerous police departments also were decimated after frustrated, abused, and unsupported cops simply turned in their badges.

The "defund the police" movement was born.

And in the same way rioting commenced in Minneapolis in the wake of Floyd's death and spread across America, so did the notion of defunding and dismantling police departments. Other cities such as Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland, and Chicago got into the act.

It was a bad idea.

So much so that voters in Minneapolis a year and half later rejected the idea of removing the city's police department and replacing it with "a Department of Public Safety that employs a comprehensive public health approach ..."

In addition to cutting police budgets and doing away with many officers, numerous police departments also were decimated after frustrated, abused, and unsupported cops simply turned in their badges.

Law enforcement officials in 2022 called it a "crisis." A perfect storm of spiking crime and violence in the streets — along with police getting defunded or quitting — led not only to staffing shortages, but also new cops weren't signing up.

"What they're doing now is vilifying the job, and they're connecting with our state's attorney and our chief judge, letting all these prisoners out and all these offenders out immediately," former Chicago police officer Anthony Napolitano said. "And it makes cops throw their hands up in the air and say, 'I'm not going to do this job any more.'"

Here are 10 times when "defund the police" backfired spectacularly.

Boy, 13, forced to watch his dad die after delayed response by Seattle cops; family sues, blames 'defund the police' movement

People carry signs during a "Defund the Police" march from King County Youth Jail to City Hall in Seattle, Washington, Aug. 5, 2020.

Photo by JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images

The family of a man who died after a delayed police response to his medical emergency filed a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Seattle in December 2022. A year prior, 46-year-old William Yurek's son, 13, called 911 while his father was having chest pains and difficulty breathing. Yurek soon after died of cardiac arrest in front of his son. The lawsuit stated that the Seattle police department "was severely understaffed at the time of this incident due to fallout from the abandonment of the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest, a.k.a. 'CHOP,' a perceived lack of support from the city, vaccine mandates, and other factors, including city mismanagement." Seattle last year settled the lawsuit for $1.86 million.

Progressive Vermont city regrets its 'defund the police' effort; Democrat mayor says 'a lot of damage' has been done

Burlington's "defund the police" movement failed so dramatically that even the progressive council member who pushed it admitted the city messed up, NBC News reported in December 2021. About 18 months prior, a resolution passed that slashed the police force by 30%, removed resource officers from schools, and shifted police funding to social justice initiatives. Instead cops felt attacked, and they left the department in droves. The city, with its 44,000 residents, went from a police force of 95 to 64 — resulting in only about five officers available to patrol at night. The city's Democratic mayor, Miro Weinberger, didn’t support cutting the force and wasn't happy with the defunding efforts: “There’s a lot of damage that has been done in the last 16 months."

Soon after its 'defund the police' efforts, Minneapolis tells crime victims to cooperate with criminals, turn over their property

Minneapolis rioting in response to death of George Floyd, May 29, 2020.

Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times

The city circulated a letter in late July 2020 telling residents in the third police precinct that due to the overwhelming violent crime wave, they should "be prepared to give up your cell phone and purse/wallet" — and if confronted by a violent robber "do as they say." The letter added that "robberies and Carjacking's have increased in our precinct. Cell phones, purses, and vehicles are being targeted. Some victims have been maced, dragged, assaulted, and threatened with a gun." In addition, "100 robberies and 20 carjackings have been reported to the 3rd Precinct Police in July alone." Just days after George Floyd's death, violent protesters breached the police department's 3rd precinct building and set a fire inside the station. In November, carjackings were up 537% compared to the previous year.

Minneapolis city council's 'defund the police' initiative inspires residents of left-wing neighborhood to stop calling cops. Boy, are they sorry.

After the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020, the city council dreamed of a "transformative new model" of public safety in which community social workers — not armed police officers — enforced the law. So a neighborhood the New York Times described as "a haven to leftist activists and bohemian artists" vowed — as a way to protest racial injustice — not to call police. But within a month, their tree-lined neighborhood became a haven for crime and hundreds of homeless people. Resident Shari Albers organized "her mostly white neighbors" to "help tackle long-standing issues with crime," but instead she was kept awake at night by the "Powderhorn Park Sanctuary." The Times reported that the homeless community "has drawn heavy car traffic into the neighborhood, some from drug dealers." Albers admitted to the paper, "I am afraid. I know my neighbors are around, but I'm not feeling grounded in my city at all. Anything could happen."

Days after Oakland cuts police budget, armed robbers run up on city's woke 'violence prevention chief' and reporters amid discussion on rising crime

Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A KNTV-TV news crew was interviewing Oakland's violence prevention director on the steps of City Hall in June 2021 when two armed robbers approached the group with guns and tried to steal camera equipment. An armed security officer drove away the would-be burglars, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, but news of the scuffle broke out on social media — and it was called the perfect example of what inevitably happens when a local government cuts its police budget. A few days earlier, Oakland's City Council voted to reallocate $18 million of police funding to community violence prevention programs. Later in 2021, amazingly Oakland's liberal Mayor Libby Schaaf blamed "defund rhetoric" for a lack of police recruits amid a surge in violent crime.

LA school district cuts police force by 33% — then middle school girl is brutally beaten by 2 females while male teacher watches, not knowing how to handle it

A KCAL-TV report last summer linked defunding police with the brutal, two-against-one beating at Sun Valley Middle School in the Los Angeles Unified School District. A teacher tried to stop it but soon gave up and watched the attackers punch the victim as many as 35 times. The victim's mother told KCAL that the teacher admitted to her that he didn't know what to do when the girls became violent: "He said, 'I tried to do what I could, I cannot touch the students, and I would like more training on how to restrain a child, or what can I do in this situation?'" The report documented how the district defunded and reduced its police force beginning in 2020. In 2021, then-L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva blamed "defund the police" and progressive policies for a violent crime wave.

Minneapolis' 'defund the police' zeal leads to increased crime — and city actually moves to pay for temporary cops at a hefty price

Photo by KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images

The outsourced police work was to cost Minneapolis $500,000 over six weeks at the end of 2020. The desperate move came after the city and anti-cop activists went after officers, about 100 of whom simply left the force. As crime was spiking, members of the city council In September 2020 — all of whom backed defunding the police force — actually demanded to know, "Where are the police?" What's more, in October 2020, several residents sued the city over insufficient policing, claiming there were fewer officers than what the city charter requires. A year later, a judge ordered the city to hire more police officers, and Mayor Jacob Frey admitted that calls to "defund the police" led to a spike in crime.

In the wake of Portland's 'defund the police' failure — and soaring crime that resulted — city restores gun violence prevention unit

Portland — not surprisingly falling in line with other woke cities — cut its police budget in the summer of George Floyd by $15 million. But by early 2021, Portland moved to reintroduce a gun violence task force within the city's police department after tons of violence. Many community members blamed budget cuts, and specifically the dissolution of the Gun Violence Reduction Team, for the spike in crime. Many within the police department warned that cutting the police budget would only lead to more crime. "I'd say they're more emboldened, maybe, to be out with guns," Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said. "They know there's not someone watching. There's no real deterrent there." Later in 2021, Portland was having a tough time finding officers to fill the revamped gun violence task force.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is a 'defund the police' champion after George Floyd's death — a year later, she completely reverses herself amid violent crime wave

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

In October 2020, the mayor announced cuts to the police department's budget in response to Black Lives Matter activists' demands. More than 600 police jobs would be eliminated. Lightfoot said police have played a "complicit role" in "brutally enforcing racist, Jim Crow laws, depriving Black and Brown people" of their "full rights as citizens." That Christmas holiday, at least eight people were killed and 30 more were wounded in citywide shootings. Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara called the "historic levels" of violence amid police cuts "ridiculous." A year later, according to the Chicago Tribune, "Lightfoot unveiled a $16.7 billion spending plan ... that boosts funding for police ..."

Far-left San Francisco mayor pushed for $120 million in police funding cuts after George Floyd's death; just a year later she wants cops to fight 'bulls**t' crime 'that's destroyed our city'

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Mayor London Breed — who jumped on the "defund the police" bandwagon in 2020 — just a year later launched an emergency police intervention in the city's high-crime Tenderloin neighborhood over rampant drug use and related gun violence, KPIX-TV reported. "It’s time, the reign of criminals who are destroying our city, it is time for it come to an end," Breed said with an angry tone at a press conference, the station said. "And it comes to an end when we take the steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement. More aggressive with the changes in our policies and less tolerant of all the bulls**t that has destroyed our city."

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Dave Urbanski

Dave Urbanski

Sr. Editor, News

Dave Urbanski is a senior editor for Blaze News.
@DaveVUrbanski →