It’s “privilege” to fear crime if we disband the police

8 mins read



Put yourself in the shoes of black Americans, she says. Imagine if you caught someone breaking into your home and feared that calling the police might endanger you more than confronting the burglar yourself would.

It’s “privilege” to know that you have less to fear from the cops than the criminals. Or so she insists.

Must be a lot of “privileged” nonwhite Americans out there, then. I pointed to this result from a 2016 Cato Institute poll on policing in yesterday’s post but it’s worth repeating: “9 in 10 black, white and Hispanic Americans oppose reducing the number of police officers in their community—and a third say their community needs more officers the Cato survey found.”

Here’s the key bit from this morning’s interview about Minneapolis’s surreal plan to disband the local PD, but it’s worth watching the entire interview to see how skeptical even CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota is of the proposal. She asks Bender at one point if she’s worried about Trump using this against the Democrats, which is journalist-speak for you should be worried about Trump using this against the Democrats. Watch, then read on.

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.

All of which is to say, I don’t think Bender is proposing ending the police department and replacing it with *nothing*. There’s some gassy rhetoric about a “police-free future,” right, but that sounds like a distant aspiration, something that should be strived for in the knowledge that it’ll never be truly possible. Surely even the wokest leftist grasps that we’ll always have degenerates with us looking to prey on the innocent, and that we’ll need someone around to intercede physically when necessary. Surely.

…But I wouldn’t bet my life savings on it. The woke left is capable of some impressive self-delusions. And I’m not the only one worried about it:

I’m only half-kidding when I say I hope they really are crazy enough to try to govern the city with no police, even for just a few days. Speaking as someone who doesn’t live in Minnesota, it’d be fascinating to watch. (Sorry, Ed!) Have all residents arm up and let a thousand self-defense flowers bloom. Half the population will move out, to be replaced by thousands of criminals eager for easy pickings and thousands of libertarians eager to experience the closest they’ll ever get to true anarchy. Minneapolis would be a bizarre amalgam of the old west and the wokest city in America.

In lieu of an exit question, here’s a stark reminder that Minneapolis PD really does need a cultural “reboot” urgently. Strong language here.





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