This plan is the latest in a long line rebuke of President Biden’s call to “defund the police.”. He has reaffirmed his commitment to law enforcement and funding law enforcement. As Sen. Chuck Grassley testified, those calls haven’t stopped Republicans from lying when they say President Biden supports police defunding. in a letter he wrote with other Republican senators on January 21 of this year.
I believe that President Biden’s statement and intention to fund the police is true. Democratic mayors have also rejected it defunding the police, instead increasing it. It is as much a political decision as it is a values-based decision. The political calculation is that if they show support for and fund the police, they will avoid easy-on-crime rhetoric and an anti-police label while avoiding being targeted by powerful police unions. Not just funding the police do not make us saferbut it won’t protect Democrats from political targets.
No matter where you talk about “reimbursing the police”, that should worry you. Law enforcement propaganda has done an excellent job of convincing Americans that the police are making us safer, making that investment worthless. The police do not protect poor districts from violence, especially black and brown; this is not the result of insufficient funding, but of choice. When it comes to sexual violence, the police do a particularly poor job of solving crimes and supporting victims. According to the Rape and Incest National Network (RAINN), two out of three cases of sexual violence go unreported and 97% of the perpetrators are acquitted. There are many reasons why sexual abuse goes unreported; there is a mountain of evidence as to how the police mistreat victims of sexual violence.
Even outside of violent crime, most crimes go unreportedand most reported crimes go unsolved, and it’s getting worse. Prospect.org reports:
“For homicides and violent crimes, clearance rates have dropped to just 50 percent, a staggering drop from the 1980s, when police cleared 70 percent of all homicides.”
People want immediate action against crime and believe that defunding the police to invest in tackling root causes takes time. I would argue that this is a misconception; it is an argument made without evidence. Training multiple officers also takes time; it is not an immediate solution. I’m against that too root cause solutions can have an immediate impact on reducing crime. Solutions from housing repair, the first housing modelsmental health, good paying jobs, community programs, wrapping services, direct financial assistanceand other implementations do not take much time and have an impact not after 10 years, but immediately.
Investing more in the police is a policy failure; it is the failure to invest in housing, education, economic security, health care and communities. It writes about social problems with guns and concrete prison cells. It is an illusion of safety without making us any safer. But this investment in American law enforcement should really scare you.
A huge investment in the police is a substantial investment in the institution infiltrated by right-wing extremists and the site of right-wing radicalization itself. Large segments law enforcement officials support the ongoing insurgency against the US government, and there are many examples. In 2020, the Brother Order of Police, America’s largest police union, endorsed President Donald Trump. This was their first presidential endorsement in their history. And Chicago Police Union even defended the January 6 uprising.
Off-duty and former law enforcement officers participated indicted on January 6. Rebellion. Former DC cop Michael Fanone—who voted for Trump in 2016—after January 6, was ostracized and retired from law enforcement, saying: “I no longer felt I could trust my fellow officers.“
There is plenty of evidence that the police in this country have been radicalized; The list below is just a little more about how deep the crisis is:
From Reuters as a law enforcement trainer: Richard “The White Head [who trains police officers] was included in a database of members of the far-right anti-government group Oath Keepers, which was leaked in September by the non-profit organization Distributed Denial of Secrets, saying that it aims to publish data in the public interest. The list of participants included about 15 other people who identified themselves as law enforcement officials.
From the Brennan Center for Justice: “The FBI’s 2015 Counterterrorism Policy, which [Michael] McGarritt [the FBI’s assistant director for counterterrorism] was responsible for implementing, suggests not only that law enforcement officers may have white supremacist beliefs, but also that FBI domestic terrorism investigations have often found “active ties” between the subjects of those investigations and law enforcement officials.
From NPR: “Investigations by NPR and WNYC/Gothamist show that active workers in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago are on the Oath Keepers membership list, with Chicago showing the highest representation of the three workers.”
From Vice: “A former Marine accused of being in a neo-Nazi group called ‘Rapekrieg’ planned to attack a synagogue and had a New York police officer buy him an assault rifle, federal prosecutors allege.
Investigative reporting from Reveal News dug deep into the links: the multi-episode report is eye-opening. “In Watkins Glen, New York, Sgt. Steven Decker declined to say that one of his officers, Robert Brill, was a member of two groups linked to the Proud Boys, a violent alt-right gang, and the Kekistani Freestate group, named after Kek. a sort of deity used by the alt-right for memes and other jokes.
Investing billions in hiring and training more officers in a system that is already broken will only further undermine democracy and expand the reach of fascism. You can disagree with the slogan, but you don’t have to diminish its essence. By refusing to engage seriously with the idea of defunding the police, people have empowered the police to pressure politicians they don’t support to invest in them. We can litigate over a slogan or engage with the fundamental problem of policing in this country, which continues to be militarized, cementing its vice grip over America’s cities and city budgets.
If you’re worried about how others will react, reach out to them to help them understand what “reparation” means and the crisis in our law enforcement agencies. Remember when Black Lives Matter was controversial to many non-Black people? And what happened? Many decided to reach out to people about what it means and why the term doesn’t exclude others. At some point, many well-meaning moderates and white liberals would say, “All lives matter.” Now the only people who use the term are associated with fascism.
Do the same here: Some strategies may rely on emotion first before using facts. You can ask people when they feel most safe or what makes them feel most safe. Talk about times when you feel safe, such as: “I know I feel safest when I have a place to sleep every night, a good job, and know that my community has resources to keep people from falling prey to desperation.” Help people imagine a sense of safety and point out any feelings that are not related to the police.
You can ask how they would feel about fascists infiltrating law enforcement. Extract evidence of this infiltration by emotion alone. Then talk about all the things outside of policing that improve public safety, how we can do those things now, and how it will cost less to the taxpayer. After all that, you can examine how ill-equipped the police are to do their job.
The pearl-clutching of “reimbursing the police” will not solve the fundamental problem of funding an institution that actively subverts democracy without even doing the job they claim to do. While the litigation continues, President Biden and other Democrats will kneel before law enforcement, continue to build their increasingly robust budgets, and not invest in initiatives that build communities, community connections, and actions that truly make us safer. .
If you need a last call with the police on your side, see how police responded to peaceful abortion rights protests. Should we not gather in peace, to protest against those responsible without fear of violent retribution? I believe it’s written down somewhere…or maybe I’m wrong.
This story was created through the Daily Kos Emerging Fellows (DKEF) program. Read more about DKEF (and meet the author and other future fellows) here.