I don’t think many people can look at the Minneapolis Police Department objectively and think they’re not in need of some kind of major overhaul. After all, in just the last few years, we know of at least two people dying at the hands of police officers in some manner other than self-defense. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that something is wrong.
The problem is that now, Minneapolis has decided to completely disband their police department.
Many in the city are worried right now, rightly so. They simply don’t know what to do going forward.
When CNN asked the president of the city council, Lisa Bender, about who those folks could call, what they got was an answer that made less sense than disbanding a police department.
CAMEROTA: "What if in the middle of the night my home is broken into. Who do I call?"
BENDER: "Yes, I hear that loud and clear from a lot of my neighbors. And I know — and myself, too, and I know that that comes from a place of privilege." pic.twitter.com/WhubQ9yJIf
— Eddie Zipperer (@EddieZipperer) June 8, 2020
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. You not wanting to be robbed, raped, and murdered is really all about privilege. If you let go of your privilege, you’d be content to have all your crap taken, your wife violated, and your children beaten to death like all right-thinking people. In essence, being robbed is a privilege.
Bender goes on to prattle about how we should think about situations where calling the police may do more harm than good.
The problem is that Bender was asked about a particular situation, a serious problem that is outright terrifying to everyone involved regardless of race. Someone breaking into an occupied home is often a particularly violent sort of thug. Bender would have people do what? Offer them milk, cookies, and their daughter’s virtue?
While not every situation calls for the police, something like this does.
Many who support defunding police are claiming that “defunding” really just means reprioritizing where money goes, that there will still be some kind of law enforcement. However, it seems quite clear that Bender is all gung ho for dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department, but with no real plan for what to do next.
Over at our sister site, Hot Air, Allahpundit had this to say about Bender’s comments:
The other striking thing about the interview is how vague Bender is about her plans for what comes next after the Minneapolis PD is abolished. Others have scrambled to fill in those blanks for her. A professor at Georgetown Law, writing today in WaPo about the “defund the police” battle cry, insists that it’s less about dismantling the force than outsourcing many of their duties to other, less aggressive agencies:
To fix policing, we must first recognize how much we have come to over-rely on law enforcement. We turn to the police in situations where years of experience and common sense tell us that their involvement is unnecessary, and can make things worse. We ask police to take accident reports, respond to people who have overdosed and arrest, rather than cite, people who might have intentionally or not passed a counterfeit $20 bill. We call police to roust homeless people from corners and doorsteps, resolve verbal squabbles between family members and strangers alike, and arrest children for behavior that once would have been handled as a school disciplinary issue…
Defunding the police means shrinking the scope of police responsibilities and shifting most of what government does to keep us safe to entities that are better equipped to meet that need. It means investing more in mental-health care and housing, and expanding the use of community mediation and violence interruption programs.
Okay, but will any of that reduce police brutality? Handing off *less confrontational* situations to social-service workers means less of a police presence on the streets but not necessarily much less force used against the public in the aggregate.
In the interview Bender mentions the case of Camden, New Jersey, which actually did disband its force in 2012 and replaced it with a new county force. (Compton also disbanded its force in 2000, handing policing duties over to Los Angeles County, per the AP.) Yesterday Alex Tabarrok noted that things did improve in Camden afterward. Cops who had been stuck working desk jobs were replaced with civilians, freeing up more officers to hit the streets. The collective bargaining contract with the police union was also nullified, a potentially important step in increasing officer accountability. I wonder if the sheer radicalism of the act of abolishing the force also helped “reboot” the culture internally, communicating in the starkest possible way that the attitude of the police towards the city had to change drastically.
He adds that he’s quite sure that Bender isn’t talking about replacing the department with nothing, but he’s not willing to bet the farm on that. I don’t blame him.
From here, it looks quite obvious that something will have to replace the MPD. We’re not remotely ready for a world with no policing, nor do I think we’ll ever get there. However, Bender doesn’t seem to have a plan, which suggests that the city council that tripped all over itself to disband the police don’t have a plan either.
If you live in Minneapolis, it might be a fine time to talk to your neighbors about how well armed they are. I have a feeling they’re going to need something going forward.