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Horowitz: Should conservatives get on board with defunding (big city) police departments?

Op-ed
AlessandroPhoto/Getty Images

The Ottawa truckers don’t know how to have fun at a protest. A real altruistic “protest” is the one that BLM had in Minneapolis (and every other major city in North America), where they burned down more than 1,500 businesses, as well as police stations and schools, and caused over $500 million in damages. Those are the protests that are countenanced by the media, city officials, and police leadership. The truckers, on the other hand, whose kids are playing in bouncy castles? Well, those people are a true public safety threat.

While this is taking place in Canada, it raises a very disquieting question for all of us here in America: Are we now at the point where urban police forces serve as nothing but a conduit for tyranny rather than a shield against violence? In other words, are urban police departments all pain and no gain for ordered liberty? Should we then not call the bluff of BLM and let them defund the police, so long as we keep the rural sheriff’s departments?

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau might have fled Ottawa, but the reality is that he or any other famous Karen could walk down the streets in Ottawa and nobody would harm him. Contrast that to the behavior of BLM, which was allowed to beat, burn, loot, and destroy for days on end and even months in some cities throughout 2020 – with no proper police deterrent. According to a report by the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA):

  • There were 574 riots that took place in the U.S. and Canada between May 25 and July 31, 2020, stemming from about 8,700 protest events.
  • More than 2,000 officers were injured in those riots.
  • 72% of major city law enforcement agencies had officers harmed during the protests.
  • More than half of major city law enforcement agencies (56%) experienced arson incidents.

Their behavior went on and on and on in some neighborhoods, with checkpoints being set up to attack motorists and lights being shined into people’s homes for nights on end. Yet police enabled rather than dismantled the organized occupation of neighborhoods. Now, an Ottawa judge has banned honking in protest, even during the day.

We all watched with horror Sunday night as Ottawa’s police began stealing fuel and propane from the truckers and announced that anyone who helps supply them will be arrested as an accessory to criminal activity. Calgary police are issuing court summonses to those who gather in convoys. Where was this degree of “enforcement” when BLM and Antifa were creating autonomous zones in middle of cities and engaging in unfettered violent crime for weeks? Consider the fact that while Ottawa police are looting from peaceful protesters, most major city police allowed endless resupplying of the BLM rioters so they could loot the public. Here is a quote from the MCCA report:

Looting was also a common occurrence (2,385 instances), with 62% of major city law enforcement agencies indicating that at least one incident of looting occurred in their cities. This activity was primarily clustered during the first few days of protests. Of note, several agencies reported that in some instances, the looting appeared to be coordinated and organized. For example, some cities encountered "looting caravans" that moved throughout different neighborhoods. One agency reported 115 commercial burglaries occurred in just one day. Two other agencies reported $927,000 worth of damage as a result of looting in each of their jurisdictions, and another agency reported a single looting event at a shopping mall that resulted in over $70 million in damage.

This is not the fault of the average police officer, but the reality is that big city police chiefs are now working for corrupt and despotic Western governments. None of their training will go toward neutralizing actual violent threats, but toward enforcing immoral edicts against basic human rights. Sure, cops might still arrest the bad guys, but the judicial system will let them out while Jan. 6 protesters languish in jail pretrial for over a year.

Take the Minneapolis riots for example. Mohamed Hussein Abdi, 20, was arrested in June 2020 after he entered a school in St. Paul during one of the riots through broken glass. It sounds like what some people did in the U.S. Capitol, except in this case Abdi was seen on surveillance video setting the building on fire. Last week, a federal judge sentenced Abdi to a fine and five years of probation, but not a single day in prison. And unlike the Jan. 6 rioters, he was out free on bail from day one.

Tyler Michael Ferguson, 22, served just 66 days in jail after setting fire to a seafood restaurant in uptown Minneapolis. He was ordered to pay the owner just $1,000, 1.2% of the estimated damage. Brayshaun Gibson, a man accused of knocking out a Minneapolis cop during a riot last August, will only serve a year of home confinement without having to go to prison. Charges against Gibson were dismissed for allegedly throwing large rocks at a police car in an earlier incident and for stealing from Home Depot at least 10 times.

Numerous others charged with federal arson crimes were sentenced below the average for similar crimes. Even Bryce Michael Williams, one of the leaders in the burning of the Third Precinct Police Station in Minneapolis, was sentenced to just two years in prison.

Don’t expect that treatment of any of the COVID protesters, regardless of how low-level the potential crimes might be. Headed forward we need to think long and hard about our support for big city police departments. The political leaders of these jurisdictions have criminalized our breath, our bodies, and our businesses. They are in the process of criminalizing our existence and political views to the point that constitutional rights of free speech and freedom to assemble don’t apply.

If you think COVID fascist edicts will not grow legs and transmogrify into broader human rights violations at the hands of governors and mayors, you are not paying attention. After all, if the NYPD is willing to bully a 5-year-old out of a restaurant for not getting jabbed – at a time of rising crime in the city – how far will they go? The spirit of authoritarianism catalyzed by illegal COVID edicts will not abate on its own. It will only metastasize.

Perhaps, BLM was right for the wrong reason.
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