For years, radical scholars and activists had been pushing to defund or even abolish police departments, but most liberal cities had deep enough reservoirs of sanity to keep them at bay. Until last year, that is: George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis gave defunders a huge opening, and they didn’t waste it.
Minneapolis, LA, Philadelphia, Seattle, Portland, Baltimore and New York City, among others, slashed their police budgets in 2020 under pressure from defunders. What followed was one of the deadliest years in the United States since the mid-1990s, with shootings and homicides spiking — to new, all-time highs in some jurisdictions.
Since then, many cities, from Oakland to Baltimore, have moved to restore or increase police funding. Though it’s a necessary step, refunding the police, without more, is insufficient.
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