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As the issue of police reforms is being debated in Congress and in cities across the country following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis officers, the far-Left has launched a movement to “defund” departments.
Since then, the concept has been acted upon by some metropolises including New York City and Los Angeles, where Mayors Bill de Blasio and Eric Garcetti, respectively, have pledged to shift hundreds of millions of dollars from annual police budgets to other line items including so-called “community-based” programs like mental health and housing.
For many on the Left, however, those efforts are inadequate.
And now, an op-ed published by The New York Times on Friday makes it plain what the real goal is: To eliminate, or “abolish,” police departments altogether.
Under the headline, “Yes, We Literally Mean Abolish the Police,” anti-criminalization activist Mariame Kaba wrote:
Congressional Democrats want to make it easier to identify and prosecute police misconduct; Joe Biden wants to give police departments $300 million. But efforts to solve police violence through liberal reforms like these have failed for nearly a century. Enough. We can’t reform the police. The only way to diminish police violence is to reduce contact between the public and the police.
Kaba went onto claim that there isn’t “a single era” in American history where police were not a “force of violence against black people,” dating back to the days of slavery.
“When you see a police officer pressing his knee into a black man’s neck until he dies, that’s the logical result of policing in America” from officers who believe it’s “his job,” she added.
In actuality, police officers and police commanders all over the country have denounced what happened to Floyd and the officer who allegedly killed him, Derek Chauvin. Last week, Mike O’Meara, president of the New York State Police Benevolent Association blasted the American media for painting all officers with a broad brush, singling out Chauvin.
“Everybody’s trying to shame us into being embarrassed of our profession,” he said. “This [our police badge] isn’t stained by someone in Minneapolis.”
“We roundly reject what he did as disgusting,” O’Meara added. “It’s not what police officers do. [Chauvin] killed someone. We are restrained.”
Nevertheless, Kaba said it’s a “myth” that police officers’ primary job is to “catch the bad guys.”
“The first thing to point out is that police officers don’t do what you think they do. They spend most of their time responding to noise complaints, issuing parking and traffic citations, and dealing with other noncriminal issues,” Kaba explained. “We can’t simply change their job descriptions to focus on the worst of the worst criminals. That’s not what they are set up to do.”
She recommends cutting budgets of police departments “in half,” claiming that “fewer police officers equals fewer opportunities for them to brutalize and kill people.”
Kaba said police officers “break rules all the time,” pointing out that Chauvin had 17 complaints against him at the time of Floyd’s death — though it’s not clear how many, if any, of those complaints were valid or were simply filed by persons who feel they were treated unjustly.
“Why on earth would we think the same reforms would work now? We need to change our demands. The surest way of reducing police violence is to reduce the power of the police, by cutting budgets and the number of officers,” Kaba continued. “But don’t get me wrong. We are not abandoning our communities to violence. We don’t want to just close police departments. We want to make them obsolete.”
The activist said a better use of police funds would be to direct them to “health care, housing, education and good jobs.” She adds that would create a lesser “need for the police in the first place.” Kaba also said that “community care workers” can “do mental-health checks” for people who need them.
“When people, especially white people, consider a world without the police, they envision a society as violent as our current one, merely without law enforcement — and they shudder,” she wrote.
“As a society, we have been so indoctrinated with the idea that we solve problems by policing and caging people that many cannot imagine anything other than prisons and the police as solutions to violence and harm,” Kaba noted further.
“People like me who want to abolish prisons and police, however, have a vision of a different society, built on cooperation instead of individualism, on mutual aid instead of self-preservation,” she noted. “When the streets calm and people suggest once again that we hire more black police officers or create more civilian review boards, I hope that we remember all the times those efforts have failed.”
As expected, the op-ed received negative reactions on social media.
The @NYTimes just told us the truth and that ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and droves of other liberal media outlets were lying when they said not to think that they're saying all police need to go https://t.co/gHaYCNVzTg
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) June 12, 2020
This NYT op-ed would put far more people in danger than Tom Cotton’s NYT op-ed. https://t.co/5gvpSeMEpT
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) June 12, 2020
This op-ed does not address how serious crime *would* be addressed under police abolition, except to say more social services would reduce crime and that towns could have restorative-justice models. I don’t get people acting like this is a side question. https://t.co/5XcwGp1KEN
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) June 13, 2020
Not surprisingly, the history of modern policing in the United States began in England, when “Shire reeves” — sheriffs — were employed full-time to ensure laws were enforced in their shires, according to an online account.
“The loosely-based system of social control worked quite well for centuries, particularly in more rural and less populated regions. However, the late 1700s and early 1800s saw a population explosion in major cities in the United States and England,” the account notes.
“Riots and civil unrest were common, and it became increasingly clear that there was a need for a more permanent and professional form of law enforcement that would carry the official authority of the government.”
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