“Defund the police.” It’s a rallying cry that swept the nation following the murder of George Floyd. According to one Gallup Poll in July 47% of Amiercans said they supported reducing police department budgets and shifting the money to social programs. Notably 70% of Black Americanss agreed and in the same survey 58% stated that “major changes” were needed in policing.
Despite those numbers, representing tens if not hundreds of millions of people, and after all the demonstrating, and all the ongoing absurd police brutality visited on many of the protests, how has the political system responded? I don’t mean how has it responded in words, but how has it responded in deed?
Amazing, nowhere in the country does there seem to be substantive action towards meeting the movement’s demands.
In fact many of the big city mayors that tried to act like the biggest supporters of the movement, have been, at the same time, pushing through massive police budgets.
Muriel Bowser, Mayor of Washington D.C. burst onto the national scene when she painted Black Lives Matter in massive yellow leaders on the street leading right into an intersection where Trump’s cop’s (alongside hers) brutally beat protestors for a photo op. An action that caught so many eyes she even was featured at the DNC discussing it.
Well. Mayor Bowser, is actually one of the most pro-police mayors in the country. Who has stood by the police department when reports have revealed their institutional racism, who fought to keep police body camera footage private, who defamed the Movement for Black Lives at every turn, and, who opposed just a small 2.5 percent cut to the almost $600 million police budget she herself proposed.
There is also New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio. DeBlasio famously was elected as a so-called critic of the NYPD. Needless to say, since he has become mayor he has basically supported everything the cops have done, no matter how bad. Shockingly, however, he continues to insist he is in fact a supporter of major changes to policing. He refused to be left behind by Bowser’s meaningless painting performance and he also decided to paint a street with Black Lives Matter.
He vowed he would meet the moment that he would seriously cut the $6 billion NYPD budget. Along with NYC City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, DeBlasio claimed they were going to slash $1 billion from the NYPD budget as many activists were asking for.
Ultimately, however, DeBlasio and Johnson did nothing of the sort, in fact, they just used budgetary tricks. Like, for example, moving $400 million for school cops from the NYPD budget to the Department of Education. Or, declaring they would cancel the Summer incoming class at the NYPD academy, while starting another one in October. Or claiming that there would be $350 million in savings from police overtime despite literally no plan for that.
So in other words, they literally faked defunding the police and tried to take credit for supporting the movement.
In Seattle, the story is the same. Durkan cried at a recent press conference where police chief Carmen Best retired in protest when the Seattle City Council voted to cut roughly 2% from a $409 million dollar police budget. Seattle only spends $90 million on homelessness services, and notably $12 million on public health. Well Mayor Jenny Durkan, who constantly competes with other local officials to sound as “woke” as possible, actually cried at Best’s retirement.
In addition to the funding issues, all these people claiming to support the movement had their cops in the streets repressing it, here, is a, if you will, greatest hits reel:
[COPS from DC, NYC, Seattle beating people]
So, just remember, no matter what they say on screen at the Democratic National Convention. When it comes to actual Democratic leaders, with actual power over police, in the words of Joe Biden about his future administration: “Nothing will fundamentally change.”
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