Texas GOP Governor Greg Abbott responded Sunday to news out of Minnesota that the Minneapolis City Council had voted unanimously to approve $6.4 million in funding for its police department in order to recruit new officers after having lost hundreds of police officers amid anti-police rhetoric and violence.
“Looks like defunding police didn’t go well in Minneapolis,” Abbott fired on Twitter. “Now they’re spending $6.4M to recruit more police officers. It won’t go well in Texas either. That’s why I want legislation preventing cities from defunding police.”
Looks like defunding police didn't go well in Minneapolis.
Now they're spending $6.4M to recruit more police officers.
It won't go well in Texas either.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) February 14, 2021
Abbott has harshly confronted the idea of defunding the police before. Last September, he stated that he was considering a legislative proposal that would place the Austin Police Department under state authority in order to stop the move to shift resources away from police departments.
In August, Austin approved cutting its police budget. Abbott tweeted in early September, “This proposal for the state to takeover the Austin Police Department is one strategy I’m looking at. We can’t let Austin’s defunding & disrespect for law enforcement to endanger the public & invite chaos like in Portland and Seattle.”
This proposal for the state to takeover the Austin Police Department is one strategy I'm looking at.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) September 3, 2020
As The Daily Wire reported of last Friday’s Minneapolis action:
The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to approve $6.4 million in funding for its police department in order to recruit new officers. This comes after months of some members of the council denigrated the department after George Floyd’s death.
“The department says it only has 638 officers available to work — roughly 200 fewer than usual. An unprecedented number of officers quit or went on extended medical leave after Floyd’s death and the unrest that followed, which included the burning of a police precinct,” ABC News reported.
“An unprecedented number of officers quit or went on an extended medical leave — many for PTSD claims — after Floyd’s death, rioting that led to the burning of a police precinct, and calls to end the city’s Police Department,” the Star Tribune pointed out. “In the months since then, some residents have begged city leaders to hire additional officers, saying they’re waiting longer for responses to emergency calls amid a dramatic uptick in violent crime. Others have encouraged elected officials to dismantle the department, saying police haven’t proven effective at reducing crime.”
In June 2020, speaking with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, the president of the Minneapolis City Council, which had stated it intended to “dismantle” the city’s police department, was asked what a citizen should do if an intruder broke into their house in the middle of the night and there were no police to call. In response, she suggested that the opportunity to call police “comes from a place of privilege,” adding that those citizens should “step back and imagine what it would feel like to already live in that reality where calling the police may mean more harm.”
Also in June, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo slammed the idea propounded by the city council to defund and dismantle the city’s police department, asserting, “As chief, I am obligated to [ensure] the public safety of our residents. I will not abandon that.”
That same month, reports surfaced that an increasing number of Minneapolis police officers had quit because of a lack of support from local Democratic political leaders.
By July, Minneapolis residents started patrolling their own neighborhoods after violent crime across the city surged. The Daily Wire reported, “The patrols, some armed, are part of a largely grassroots efforts to protect neighborhoods, businesses, and residents from rioters and criminals. Some groups have constructed barriers at the entrance to their neighborhoods and control who can enter.”
In August, a Minneapolis commission prevented the Democrat-controlled Minneapolis City Council’s amendment to dismantle the city’s police department from appearing on the ballot in November. “The Charter Commission had expressed concern that the process to change the city’s charter was being rushed after Floyd died following an encounter with a Minneapolis police officer,” CBS News reported. “Some commissioners said they were more concerned with making the right changes rather than making them fast.”