In 2009 just a few days after he was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States Barack Obama told House Republican Whip Eric Cantor, “Elections have consequences, and at the end of the day, I won.”
Obama was absolutely right. Recent elections are having a lot of consequences for American law enforcement and the safety of the American people.
All of our attention in recent months has been on the presidential race. But where the consequences of elections are most felt by law enforcement officers is at the local level. The pain for police and deputies during the next four years will be coming from city councils, and county commissions, and the offices of district attorneys.
At the city level, it’s as if all those people with “Think Globally, Act Locally” bumper stickers have been elected to powerful political positions. And, man, are they acting locally to empower criminals and destroy their municipal police departments.
Minneapolis, with the death of George Floyd, is ground zero for the get rid of police movement. I have to imagine that many homeowners and business owners in that city have looks of shock on their face and are constantly walking around muttering “Who voted for these people?” Unfortunately, a lot of somebodies voted for them, they are firmly in power, and they are bat guano crazy.
A majority of Minneapolis city council members are so out of touch with reality that they are hell-bent on ending police protection in the city. They want to replace the police with “a department of community safety and violence prevention” that will be run by someone with no law enforcement experience. Already they are slashing the PD’s budget. And cops are retiring and transferring away from the agency in droves.
Which has led to an unprecedented crime wave in the city once known for “Minnesota Nice.” The Minneapolis crime stats don’t seem that large compared to New York or Chicago, but Minneapolis is a comparatively small city. It’s a small city with a major crime problem. There were more than 80 murders in Minneapolis in 2020; there were 49 in 2019. Maybe some of those murders involve carjackings, which are up 537% over 2019.
Crime is so bad in Minneapolis that the police chief had to go to the city council and beg for funding to “rent” officers from other area agencies. He got the money. Then he sent the paperwork to the other agencies, and didn’t hear back. From what I can tell, those other agencies are slow-walking the process to a subtle “nope.” It looks like other area police leaders do not want to commit their personnel to a war zone where they will have no political support if something hits the fan.
It’s little wonder that some residents in Minneapolis are suing the city over the lack of police protection. A judge has allowed the suit to go forward. Which is good because a judgment for the plaintiffs may be the only hope for the city.
Local councils and commissions full of anti-police activists are a bane to law enforcement. But perhaps the most dangerous elected official for police is the district attorney. It is the DAs who are letting hardened criminals back on the streets to kill citizens and cops.
Los Angeles just elected a DA, who on paper appears to be the ideal law-and-order guy. He was a career LAPD officer, the former chief of the San Francisco Police Department, and the former DA of San Francisco.
But résumes can be misleading. The new DA of Los Angeles, George Gascon, is by no means a law-and-order guy. He’s a prosecute cops, let criminals walk guy. He is the candidate of Black Lives Matter who unseated an African-American woman because she, ironically, did not matter.
Gascon is the co-author of California’s Prop 47, which turned many previous felonies into misdemeanors. Combined with zero money bail, also supported by Gascon, Prop 47 made theft of less than $950 virtually legal. The results were predictable. Some stores in the Golden State can’t keep merchandise on the shelves because of all the shoplifting, a lot of Californians now have cardboard car windows because of all the vehicle burglaries, and some really bad guys have been released because they could not be held on petty theft charges.
At the same time that Gascon is advocating the release of criminals, he is actively pursuing the imprisoning of cops. He has already agreed to reopen the cases of four officer-involved shootings that were ruled justified by his predecessor.
This is what the people of Los Angeles County chose in the last election. They will now have to live with the consequences. They are going to need a lot more cardboard for their car windows, bars for their home windows, body armor, and guns because law enforcement agencies in L.A. County are about to lose a lot of officers. And the violent tsunami that is coming in Southern California will make the Minneapolis crime wave look like a ripple.