Michael Tracey did an absolutely fantastic piece on what has happened to Minnesota a year after George Floyd was killed. Floyd’s death helped spawn the utterly ridiculous “defund the police” movement and Minneapolis, like many other cities that went down that road, saw a massive increase in violent crime.
Minneapolis recorded its second-most homicides ever in 2020 — after only 1995, when the city was ignobly dubbed “Murderapolis” in national media. And the trend has continued to escalate in 2021: between January 1 and April 25, the number of homicides increased by 92% compared to the same period in 2020. More than 80% of the shooting victims in 2020 were black. “We’re gonna blow Murderopolis off the charts this year,” one Minneapolis cop told me.
This shouldn’t surprise any sentient human being. That’s not just because “defunding the police” means fewer officers on the street. When the politicians make it clear they don’t have the backs of the cops, two things happen. The first is that the criminals are empowered.
“There’s way more people it seems like with guns now than there ever has been,” another Minneapolis cop told me, and “much less hesitation to use them.” These officers theorize that the explanation for the crime surge is related to the city’s political climate over the past year, which in their view has allowed perpetrators to wreak havoc without consequence. “They feel emboldened and they feel untouchable, in my opinion,” the cop said.
If the criminals feel emboldened and untouchable by the political climate, how do you think the cops feel? The opposite of that, right? Is a cop in that situation thinking, “I need to hurry up so I can stop that crime” or “Maybe I should slow down a little, get there after the crime is over, and not risk a conflict the public will blame on me no matter what happens”? It matters whether the police have funding. It matters whether the politicians have their backs. It matters whether the public has a realistic understanding and realistic expectations for the police. When all those things are in place, you get Minneapolis. When they’re not, you get Murderapolis and it works the same way all across the country.
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