The many myths surrounding the slogan “defund the police” need to be addressed. That is why I was encouraged to read a thoughtful critique from a progressive who lives in Seattle, but who also works for law enforcement. Christopher Young has been a big-city cop for more than a quarter-century and brings some common sense to the debate about the police.
The first myth he tackles is the argument that “police are killing large numbers of civilians.” Criminal justice experts I have quoted in previous commentaries have proven this is not true. He cites statistics from New York City to prove his point, but you can also use national crime statistics as well.
His second myth is the naïve belief that “the anti-cop movement is largely peaceful.” He likens the movement to the Batman villain Two-Face. The protests in the daytime were mostly examples of lawful free speech. The dynamic changed dramatically at night as riots broke out. He reminds us that the mainstream media adopted what he called “the comically false peaceful-protest narrative” which was obviously untrue.
A third myth is that “abolishing police wouldn’t lead to lawlessness.” As a police officer, he saw first-hand Seattle’s experiment with the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (known as CHAZ). Police weren’t allowed in the “occupied” protest zone for weeks. They saw the lawlessness that broke out when police could not be on patrol.
A final myth is that the “police are militarized.” As a former soldier, he knows what it was like to ride in an armored vehicle. Today, SWAT team members use armored vehicles and armored clothing in order to avoid using deadly force, not commit it. A SWAT team member wearing protection is likely to wait longer before using force.
I agree with this police officer’s conclusion that the defund the police arguments are either wildly exaggerated or just plain false.