AMAC Exclusive – by Aaron Kliegman
Following George Floyd’s death in May 2020, the woke left made the police its Public Enemy Number 1. Chaos ensued in America’s cities — as did a historic spike in murders nationwide. Now, we are learning just how bad this crime wave was (and is). The FBI reported late last month that homicides in the U.S. rose by 29.4 percent in 2020 from 2019, the largest single-year increase since the federal government began compiling national crime statistics in the 1960s. That means there were a staggering 4,901 more murder victims than the previous year.
Beyond homicide, assaults increased by 12 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, and violent crime overall jumped by 5.6 percent — the first increase in violent crime in four years. The FBI data came from nearly 16,000 law enforcement agencies who are on the front lines of this crime wave.
While some of the figures are shocking, they shouldn’t be surprising. In fact, these results were predictable: less policing means more violent crime. This was obvious to most Americans, but not to those on the left leading the movement to defund and demonize the police. Or, alternatively, they knew and didn’t care. Either way, the idea is delusional and, as we saw last year, deadly.
Recall how the killing of Floyd triggered nationwide protests against racism and police brutality. “Defund the police” became a rallying cry at these demonstrations, which quickly devolved into riots.
Left-wing radical groups, including Antifa and many members of the Black Lives Matter movement, dominated the protests, turning them into chaotic mobs bent on arson, looting, and rioting. Spurred by woke rage, they destroyed cars, burned buildings, and attacked innocent people.
The anti-police rage also proved deadly for America’s law enforcement officers. Last September, for example, a gunman opened fire on two Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department deputies who were sitting in their patrol car. Both officers were badly wounded and rushed to the hospital, where protesters blocked the emergency entrances and exits, yelling, “we hope they die.” Fortunately, the officers survived, despite the best efforts of the woke mob.
“Mostly peaceful protesters,” as the media dubbed those in the streets, also attacked police officers in New York City, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, and elsewhere.
Meanwhile, liberal politicians and media commentators further demonized the police in public, portraying law enforcement in this country as brutal and racist. These voices should’ve tried to calm tensions, defending the police as a crucial institution and the vast majority of officers who sacrifice much and put themselves at great risk to protect and serve their communities. They could’ve also recognized there is only a very small number of bad officers who must be identified and removed through common sense reforms that don’t diminish the ability of police departments to do their job and keep our lives and property safe. Recognizing where some reforms may be needed and also respecting police officers for what they do are not mutually exclusive ideas.
Instead, too many left-wing leaders effectively incited the rioters, giving them justification to target law enforcement.
Kamala Harris, for example, infamously announced her support for an organization that bails out criminals in Minneapolis as rioters took to the streets in the wake of Floyd’s death.
“If you’re able to, chip in now to the [Minnesota Freedom Fund] to help post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnesota,” she tweeted last June. Those “protestors” who Harris helped free then went on to fuel a wave of violence unlike anything in the city’s history.
Around the same time, Harris warned that the mayhem devastating America’s cities — mayhem that led to $2 billion in insurance claims — would continue, encouraging the “mostly peaceful protesters” to keep up the good work.
“This is a movement, I’m telling you,” Harris declared in an interview. “They’re not going to stop. And everyone beware, because they’re not going to stop. They’re not going to stop before Election Day in November, and they’re not going to stop after Election Day. And that should be — everyone should take note of that, on both levels, that they’re not going to let up, and they should not, and we should not.”
Amid the chaos, several Democratic-run cities slashed their police budgets. Minneapolis tried to disband its police department altogether. New York City slashed its police budget by $1 billion. Seattle, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and several others also cut funding for officers.
At the same time, so-called progressive mayors in these cities prevented their police departments from maintaining any semblance of order. From Portland to New York, Democratic leaders ordered law enforcement to stand down or use a “light touch” in the name of racial justice. In so doing, they endangered the police officers on the ground and the peaceful citizens caught in the crosshairs of the violent rioters.
At the same time, progressive prosecutors in cities across America demanded leniency, refusing to prosecute crimes — even felonies — not deemed “significant,” and in some cases actually eliminated bail for criminals.
Add up all these factors, and it’s not hard to understand why murders and other violent crime surged last year. There were other factors, of course, but to deny the link between weak prosecution and less policing on one hand and more violent crime on the other is to deny logic and common sense.
Democrats claimed these policies were necessary to address systemic racism in law enforcement and the criminal justice system more broadly. But the tragic irony is that minorities were hurt more than any other group by the resulting violence. According to the FBI’s new data, minority communities suffered disproportionately from last year’s spike in crime. More often than not, it was minority communities and businesses in inner cities who bore the brunt of the attacks.
Perhaps 2021 will be different – although the murder statistics in America’s largest cities and the alarming rise in juvenile crime suggest that the ripple effects from last year’s crime wave may be felt for some time. But the left’s anti-police hostility isn’t quite as raw and visible now as it was last summer, and that alone is a positive development. Regardless, 2020 is an irrefutable example that the consequences of going soft on crime and demonizing police are deadly – both for individual citizens and for the well-being of a society as a whole.
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