Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on the neck of George Floyd and did not even notice that Floyd was non-responsive. On May 25, 2020, Floyd died under Chauvin’s knee and the entire US has been convulsed by protests both violent and peaceful for four weeks since then. Black Lives Matter and others are calling for police reform, especially the defunding of police departments as a solution to officer-involved killings of black people.
Minneapolis and New York have already started implementing sweeping reforms, and the results aren’t pretty. The City Council of Minneapolis voted in a veto-proof majority to dismantle their police department. The New York City Police Department agreed to take 600 plainclothes cops off the streets. Will defunding and dismantling police departments make cities safer for black people?
The far-left city government of Minneapolis may think that crime is just a social construct and social justice warriors will be a good replacement for the police, but that narrative has already fallen apart in the wake of new shootings in the city. Early Sunday morning, the Minneapolis Police Department tweeted that 12 people were shot, and one adult male died. Thankfully, there is still a police force at this time to respond to calls like this one.
** SHOOT UPDATE **
12 people have suffered gunshot wounds in an incident on 2900 block of Hennepin S. 1 adult male died and 11 have no -life-threatening wounds
— Minneapolis Police (@MinneapolisPD) June 21, 2020
New York City
The New York City Police Department has already made some extensive reforms. Approximately 600 anti-crime plainclothes officers have been reassigned to other jobs within the department. The city council just passed legislation banning chokeholds, requiring policepersons to make their badges visible at all times and to allow their interactions with the public to be recorded. The bill also requires the NYPD to report on its surveillance methods. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is shifting some funding away from NYPD to social services.
Even with these newest reforms in the NYPD, criminals are still committing crimes at record pace in the Big Apple. New York City has strict gun-control laws, and a license is required to have a firearm in the city, but shootings are increasing.
Very recently, in a 12 hour time period, 17 people were shot and one person was killed. More than 30 people were shot in one week and more than 90 in June. All these numbers are much higher than they were at the same time last year.
Occasionally a voice of reason breaks through the obfuscating cloud of fake news and the demands to dismantle police departments. People in high crime neighborhoods in many big cities need the police to respond to their 911 calls and protect them. Some prominent black voices have diverged from the narrative and are publically condemning the idea that police departments should be defunded or dismantled.
Angela Underwood Jacobs is the sister of Patrick Underwood, a black federal law enforcement officer who was shot and killed in Oakland, California earlier in June during a violent George Floyd protest there. She commended President Trump for standing by law enforcement in these difficult times, and explained why people should honor and support them, too:
The men and women in blue that help protect and serve our communities are — they’re so necessary and we need them and we need to pay loyalty and respect to them, because they go out and put their lives on the line every single day, rain or shine. They’re there to protect and serve all of us, so honoring them is the right thing to do.
Officers like Derek Chauvin should be held accountable for their gross misconduct. But the consequences of throwing the baby out with the bathwater are already becoming terrifyingly apparent. America’s cities and towns still need the help and protection of the police, the vast majority of whom are good cops.