News and Analysis

Defund The Police Is Over
A protester holds a 'Defund The Police' placard during the demonstration outside Downing Street.
Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Along with Critical Race Theory, masking children, and Leftist bullying, one other progressive issue met a resounding defeat Tuesday night: the Defund the Police movement.

The movement was already on the ropes, with cities across the country refunding police departments after cutting funding as the hyped-up movement took hold. Earlier this month, the Alexandria City Council voted to temporarily restore school resource officers after previously voting to reallocate $800,00 that had been dedicated to the program.

On Tuesday night, however, the movement was thoroughly repudiated.

In Minneapolis, voters rejected a ballot measure that would have replaced the police department with a “department of public safety.” The measure lost 56% to 44%.

The Defund the Police movement gained significant momentum in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers in 2020. While Democrats later claimed “defund” didn’t really mean “defund,” many cities attempted to do just that.

“The ballot measure in Minneapolis emerged from a pledge by nine city council members in the wake of Mr. Floyd’s murder to begin the process of ending the Minneapolis Police Department. The city has taken some money from the police department as it created an Office of Violence Prevention. Activists say the moves haven’t gone far enough,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “In the 17 months since Mr. Floyd’s death, violent crime has increased and the ranks of the police department have dwindled as officers retired, left or took leave for PTSD and other issues.”

Had voters approved the measure to replace the police department with the department of public safety, oversight of the department would have been shifted to the city council — the same council that tried to defund the police.

Minneapolis wasn’t the only city with ballot measures related to police. The sentiment across the country seemed to be that people didn’t want a reduction of their police force, but also didn’t want an increased presence and preferred reform.

In Austin, Texas, 67% of voters rejected a measure that would have “put forward an additional 40 hours of training per year for officers, extra compensation for officers proficient in a foreign language and demographic representation when hiring, if voters chose to implement the measure,” Forbes reported.

In Cleveland, Ohio, and Albany, New York, voters approved measures related to civilian-led committees to have oversight over police departments. In Cleveland, the commission “would have the final say on police policies and discipline, and would require some of the members of the board to be lawyers who have had experience representing victims of police brutality,” according to Forbes. In Albany, an already existing committee was strengthened and given “oversight of police investigations and complaints.”

Finally, New York City elected its second black mayor, who happens to be a former cop who made clear he would not defund the police. Eric Adams also said that he would carry a gun even as mayor. Adams was asked whether he would carry a gun and said he would, adding that he wouldn’t have a security detail because the city should be safe enough for him to walk alone.

During his acceptance speech Tuesday night, Adams emphasized the need for police reform while maintaining a police force for safety.

“And we’re going to get the safety we need and the justice we deserve. They go together. By driving down gun violence and crime from our streets while we drive our biases and bad behavior from those who are tarnishing the shield,” he said.

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