Protests against police brutality are continuing in cities across the US. However, demonstrators are adding a new item to their list of demands: defunding or the total disbandment of city police departments.
Demonstrations first began after an African American man – George Floyd – died in police custody several weeks ago. Since the protests began, the Minneapolis Police Department has fired all four officers involved in the altercation that resulted in Floyd’s death. The officers have also been charged for their roles in the incident. On top of that, the main perpetrator is facing charges of second-degree murder.
Protests continued over the weekend in the several states, and the demonstrations have taken on an increasingly anti-police tone. Some groups are now beginning to push local lawmakers to totally disband their police forces. These groups want to replace them with new community policing models. The issue has gained national attention after the Minneapolis city council announced a plan to bring forth a veto-proof resolution to disband the local police.
However, the activists that are pushing for this seemingly extreme measure have provided few details on their so-called progressive police model. Additionally, some have even openly admitted that they don’t know how it would work. Supporters of the move to disband police in Minneapolis appeared on Fox News. There, they told reporters that they plan to figure it out on the fly. “We recognize that we don’t have all the answers about what a police-free future looks like, but our community does. We’re committing to engaging with every willing community member in the city of Minneapolis over the next year to identify what safety looks like for you.”
Some radical elements have embraced the push to disband the police. However, Minneapolis’s mayor doesn’t support the move of defunding the force. On Saturday, a large group of protestors gathered outside Mayor Jacob Frey’s home. They berated the mayor for resisting calls to disband the police. Frey has been criticized for being soft on the widespread looting and unrest in Minneapolis that followed Floyd’s death. However, the well-know liberal has emphatically resisted calls to abolish the city’s police force.
He reiterated on Sunday that he doesn’t believe that getting rid of the police is the best course of action. However, Frey admitted that he will be willing to work with activists to enact new reforms. “We’re ready to dig in and enact more community-led, public safety strategies on behalf of our city. But, I do not support abolishing the Minneapolis Police Department.”
An Unpopular Opinion
Nationally, calls to disband police forces have received little support from the general public. A recent poll showed that only 20% of Americans support reductions in police forces. Prominent law enforcement figures have also been highly critical of any anti-policing policies. The NYPD Detectives Union President Paul DiGiacomo told reporters that defunding the police is a “recipe for disaster.”
In an appearance on “Fox & Friends Weekend”, DiGiacomo warned that pushing aside the police could result in grave consequences for many hard-working Americans. He pointed out that, just a few days ago, some of the same individuals calling for defunding the police force were out burglarizing and destroying commercial property just a few days ago. DiGiacomo reminded viewers that local police forces helped keep those riots in check. “It’s just a matter of time before these criminal individuals walk into your neighborhood and break into your home and loot your home when you are home. The only thing stopping that is the police,” DiGiacomo said.
Appeasing policies from left-leaning city governments appear to have emboldened protestors in their pushback against local law enforcement. Originally, protests centered around demands that charges be brought against the four officers involved in Floyd’s death, but the demonstrations have taken a broader focus since then. Despite the sensationalist coverage from mainstream media, survey data indicates that the vast majority of Americans are against reductions in police forces. Disbanding the police could have dire implications for public safety, so local politicians should think long and hard before ceding to activist demands.