Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) condemned progressive Democrats’ call to defund police departments during 2020, saying that the far left’s ranting about defunding the police has become “official Democratic Party dogma” and is contributing to violent crimes across the nation.
“From coast to coast, American families are facing an explosion of violent crime on their streets and in their neighborhoods. 2020 saw homicides skyrocket nationwide. The sharpest one-year increase in decades. And 2021 is already shaping up to be even worse…. Crime and delinquency have many causes. In some ways, the pandemic likely contributed,” McConnell said from the Senate floor on Thursday. “But it is impossible to ignore that these terrible trends are coming precisely as so-called ‘progressives’ have decided it’s time to denounce and defund local law enforcement,” said McConnell.
Progressives in the Democrat party, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rep. Rashid Tlaib (D-Mich.), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Rep. Cory Bush (D-Mo.), and many top Democrat leaders have been calling for taking money from police departments and putting into social services or “dismantling” the police.
In 2020, at a rally following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, Omar called the department “rotten to its core.”
“I will never stop saying, ‘Not only do we need to disinvest from police but we need to completely dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department,’” she said, calling the police department a “cancer.”
In April of 2021, after what the police said was an accidental shooting of a black man, Tlaib condemned law enforcement as being “racist.”
“It wasn’t an accident. Policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist. Daunte Wright was met with aggression & violence. I am done with those who condone government-funded murder. No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed,” wrote Tlaib.
According to the National Fraternal Order of Police, murder rates have skyrocketed in cities where the government has defunded the police. As of May 25, the murder rate in Philadelphia was up 40 percent, in Minneapolis 56 percent, in Portland 800 percent, in New York City 22 percent, in Chicago 22 percent, in Los Angeles 27 percent, and in Washington D.C. 35 percent YTD.
A number of city officials that last year planned to defund departments are now walking back statements to go through with cutting funding to law enforcement due to surges in crime levels.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, a Democrat, announced in May that he’s pushing to increase funding to the city’s police department—coming about a year after George Floyd’s death in police custody, which sparked the Black Lives Matter protests, riots, and arson attacks across Minneapolis.
“The violence needs to stop; it’s unacceptable,” he said earlier in May during a news conference, which came amid a massive spike in violence in the city.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, announced this month that his city is building a police precinct in Queens to deal with a spate in rising crime—coming months after he pledged to cut $1 billion from the NYPD’s budget. The city has cut far less from the police department than the pledged $1 billion.
“So, look, I’m not sure exactly how the rantings of far-left Twitter about crime and policing became official Democratic Party dogma in so many places across America. What I do know is that ordinary Americans cannot bear much more of this. And that goes double for the most vulnerable neighborhoods,” said McConnell.
The “defund the police” movement has also seen its support plummet since last summer, according to various polls. A recent survey in March showed that just 18 percent of Americans support the cause.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.
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