Angry protesters in Minneapolis and other cities where demonstrations have continued for more than a week are now demanding that municipal governments “defund the police,” but does anyone know what such a drastic move might create?
Buried in the text of a Chicago Sun-Times article might be a hint. The newspaper looked at the number of murders committed in the Windy City during a single 24-hour period on May 31 when 18 people were slain. The story quoted anti-gun Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor at St. Sabina Church, who looked around his neighborhood and saw no police. He drove around to see looting—part of the demonstrations condemning the killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd.
“I got in my car and drove around to some other places getting looted [and] didn’t see police anywhere,” Pfleger told the newspaper.
The Minneapolis City Council appears poised to “dismantle” the police department. Front Page Mag called the idea an “experiment in recreating Escape From New York in real life.”
According to CNN, Minneapolis Council President Lisa Bender stated, “We committed to dismantling policing as we know it in the city of Minneapolis and to rebuild with our community a new model of public safety that actually keeps our community safe.”
It’s not clear what Bender and her colleagues have in mind, or how “dismantling policing” is going to keep the community safe. Because of Floyd’s death while in police custody, she said the current system isn’t working. Elsewhere around the country, demonstrators consistently demand “change,” without offering any details what that might entail.
However, Bender acknowledged, “The idea of having no police department is certainly not in the short term.”
In Seattle, Socialist Councilwoman Kshama Sawant has called on Mayor Jenny Durkan to resign and she also wants to defund the police following 8 days of protests. She tweeted about having been “maced and gassed” during a Sunday night protest.
Just got maced and gassed with hundreds others by Seattle police on 11th & Pine. With no provocation. All the movement was demanding was: Let us march!
Shameful violence under Mayor Durkan. And the 30-day tear gas pause is totally meaningless.
Durkan Must Go. #DefundPolice pic.twitter.com/GNtvtjuMAU
— Kshama Sawant (@cmkshama) June 8, 2020
Sunday evening, a man drove a black car into a crowd of demonstrators and shot one who appears in a video to have punched him. The man then emerged from the car with a handgun that appeared to have an extended magazine, waved it around and then fled into the crowd. Regardless of the magazine size, he apparently fired only one shot. That suspect was arrested, by police that Sawant wants defunded.
A story in the Seattle Times describes what happened—or didn’t happen—in the much smaller city of Snohomish more than a week ago when armed citizens turned out en masse to protect the downtown business core from a credible threat of trouble. Snohomish is located several miles northeast of Seattle in a different county. The Times story estimated “hundreds of people” turned out. Most were male, many were armed and some allegedly represented “far right-wing groups.”
But there was only one incident reported by the Times during the evening. “As the hours passed,” the story acknowledged, “the predictions of mayhem never materialized.”
Perhaps, as noted earlier here, the appearance of all those firearms served as a deterrent to violence. If police agencies are “defunded,” perhaps that will become the “new normal.”