The documentary, called “Lawless,” examines the effects of the anti-police movement across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd in May 2020. One of the cities Daily Caller investigators examined was Austin, Texas, where the city council voted to cut the police budget by one third in August 2020 amid a wave of anti-police sentiment.
While Austin later voted to move funding back to the police department, it still faces massive staffing shortages and its chief of police resigned in August. As of September, Austin was at least 300 officers short of full staff.
“We are not a city that can handle parallel critical incidents,” Matt Mackowiak, co-founder of Save Austin Now, told The Daily Caller. “If we get to a situation where we have a serious bank robbery in North Austin, and something happening at [Austin City Limits Music Festival] at the same time, we will not have enough police officers to respond to both incidents.”
Save Austin Now is a nonpartisan group committed to addressing the challenges facing Austin, including homelessness, high property taxes, and crime.
The budget cuts in Austin came alongside the national push by some Democrat politicians, including Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), to defund and dismantle police departments throughout the U.S.
At the same time, police departments across the country have struggled to stay fully staffed amidst a wave of resignations and a decline in new recruits. The Daily Caller spoke with law enforcement, politicians, and small business owners about the crisis in policing.
“I want to signal a crisis,” Fraternal Order of Police President Patrick Yoes said. “Our profession is dependent on the best and brightest stepping up and taking this job. And because of the actions, and because of the turmoil that has happened in the last two years, we have a crisis right now in manpower.”
The Daily Caller said the film “will expose the true human cost of turning against law enforcement. We are traveling across the country to discover the terror that has been unleashed upon American cities as a result of the ‘Defund the Police’ movement. We will uncover how the movement became as powerful as it did and give a voice to the forgotten men and women who bear the brunt of the violence in their daily lives.”