All the proof you need that 'Defund the Police' is out of touch with America

Among the issues that voters made their voices heard on this past Election Day was whether Minneapolis, Minnesota would do away with its 1,100-member police department and replace it with a Department of Public Safety.

The new "Defunded Police" department was supposed to take a "comprehensive public safety approach."  While it would have included some police officers, it would have also included professionals with experience dealing with issues such as mental health, housing, violence reduction, and intervention.

It was presented as a way to "Defund the Police," a national movement that views police as racist and dangerous to the black community.

More than 143,000 residents voted in an election that drew national attention.  Supporters of Minnesota's Defund the Police Amendment had nationally known politicians like U.S. rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison.

"We have an opportunity, once and for all, to listen to those most impacted by police brutality and the communities who have been demanding change for decades," Omar wrote in a Star Tribune opinion piece.  "We have a mandate, in the wake of George Floyd's murder, to deliver a public safety system rooted in compassion, humanity and love, and to deliver true justice.  I hope we fulfill it."

Most voters disagreed with her.  By a margin of 56 percent to 44 percent, voters rejected the amendment.

Some pundits say the charter amendment failed because it was too complicated and not because people are happy with the police force.  While this may be true in some cases, there are other reasons.  One of those reasons would have to be that some people were afraid to trust either politicians or an understaffed police force to protect them.  Lest we forget, many residents lost their businesses or other property in the riots following the death of George Floyd under the knee of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020.  They didn't want to see that out-of-control behavior go unchecked.  They saw it as a radical attack on law and order.  Even black residents, whom this amendment pandered to, voted against the amendment.

Nekima Armstrong, a civil rights lawyer and a Minneapolis resident, explained it this way: "This wouldn't have saved George Floyd's life.  They're doing this in his name, but in that situation, the store owner would have still called the cops."

Why?  Because although the mainstream media like to focus on the black community as the victims of police violence, black citizens are also more likely to call on the police for help to fight violence in their communities.

The city's police department became a focal point for reform after Floyd's death.  However, the calls for reform had also come with widespread rioting that led to 604 arrests, $550 million in damage, 1,500 properties damaged or destroyed, and 150 buildings set on fire.  The same people calling for the police department to be abolished were also calling for the police to help them.  In trying to advocate for reform, the social justice warriors showed citizens why they needed the police.

In my opinion, it sends a message that most people want the police.  Indeed, they want a police force less plagued with problems and accusations of brutality.  Still, they trust the police to protect them more than a group of people who are more worried about why the criminal is committing a crime than stopping the crime.

After the amendment failed, Bill Rodriguez, co-founder of Operation Safety Now, a group opposed to the amendment, said, "Of course there's work to do on how we approach public safety, but the notion that we can do it without police, or with a skeleton crew of officers, is fantasy."

The Minneapolis vote shows that the Defund the Police movement is out of touch with most Americans, regardless of their demographics or geographic location.  As long as politicians rely only on social and biased media for their news and information, they will continue to make poor choices for their constituents.

Michael A Letts is the CEO and founder of In-VestUSA, a national grassroots non-profit organization helping hundreds of communities provide thousands of bulletproof vests for their police forces through educational, public relations, sponsorship, and fundraising programs.  

Image: Tony Webster via Flickr, CC BY SA 2.0 (cropped).

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