Amid the growing protests and riots across the country, some politicians have called to defund the police and reduce the size of police forces. The Black Lives Matter organization (or at least two of their national leaders) has called for the abolishment of the police (and prisons). Those people may be getting their wish.
Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall-a minority woman, just for the record-submitted her resignation this week. Tired of criticism of how her department had handled the riots (they had actually arrested law breakers, which had caused outrage among….well, among lawbreakers), Hall resigned to take ‘another opportunity’ elsewhere in the country. During one night of the riots, the police arrested 50 people for violent and related acts which resulted in criticism that the department was too heavy-handed.
During a City Council meeting late today, the Mayor of Rochester, NY got word that the police chief and the whole senior staff of the Department had submitted their resignations. The resignations come after criticism of how he handled riots after a man died after having a ‘spit hood’ placed over his heard and being restrained during an arrest. The man, Daniel Prude, was high on PCP and police had been called because he was running around naked, smashing store windows and saying he had Covid and threatening to infect people around him. Police restrained him, put a hood over his head to keep him from spitting on them, he continued to struggle and, unfortunately, later died.
An autopsy report from the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office listed Prude’s cause of death as “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint due to excited delirium due to acute phencyclidine intoxication.’
Chief La’Ron Singletary, who is black, issued a statement which said, in part “As a man of integrity, I will not sit idly by while outside entities attempt to destroy my character. The events over the past week are an attempt to destroy my character and integrity. The members of the Rochester Police Department and the Greater Rochester Community know my reputation and know what I stand for. The mischaracterization and the politicization of the actions that I took after being informed of Mr. Prude’s death is not based on facts, and is not what I stand for.”
At the Council meeting, the Mayor was asked who would be in charge during that night’s ‘protests’ (notice the question was not ‘if’ there were protests/riots). The Mayor, who is also black, responded that she didn’t know since she had just got word of the mass resignations.
In St. Louis, there have been eight police officers that have been shot since June. A retired St Louis police captain who became the police chief of a small nearby town was also killed while trying to stop the looting of a pawn shop.
Police in communities near Portland have begun to refuse to answer calls for assistance from Portland because the mayor and DA refuse to prosecute violent rioters (though, shockingly, the Mayor has stepped up police enforcement since his home was vandalized during protests outside last week).
In New York City, requests for retirement in the police department are up over 30%. However, that trend began before the George Floyd incident, with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s routine public criticism of the police force.
Where there is police abuse, or police officers that commit crimes, they should be prosecuted as should anyone else. If found guilty, Thinking Man believes they should get more harsh punishment because they hold a special place of responsibility.
However, to go to the extreme that we have in some circles today where police officers and departments are assumed to be bad and guilty of bias and routine criminal behavior, even in the cases cited above when the leaders are minorities, is absurd. And unfortunately, we have political figures, especially on the west coast, that not only seem to buy into that mindset but refuse to allow police to enforce the laws.
The end result is very predictable. We have seen crime in the US, in every major city without exception, rise dramatically over last year. Certainly we need to do some things differently in policing certain cities. But getting rid of police….that will have a very predictable effect, the beginnings of which we have already seen.