PORTLAND, OR – Officers are under attack. The city is regularly in flames. Now they’re asking for our help – and all they need is a signature.
Early on Tuesday, September 15th, the Portland Police Association issued a press release announcing the launch of a petition simply, but aptly, titled: “Protect Portland.” The two-fold purpose behind the petition is to “urge City Council to stop defunding the Portland Police Bureau” and to show support for Portland’s police officers.
The release, in part, stated:
“The City of Portland is at a crossroads. Many peaceful protests calling for racial equity and police reform have devolved into nightly riots, looting, burning, assaults, and even murder.
Catastrophically thin police staffing and resources have been stretched even thinner with the Portland City Council’s recent, knee-jerk decision to defund the Portland Police Bureau of $15 million in needed resources, resulting in nearly 85 lost police officer positions and the shuttering of vital community policing teams like the Gun Violence Reduction Team.
‘Our Portland Police officers are dedicated public servants,’ said Daryl Turner, Portland Police Association President.
‘They are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, and sons. They are culturally diverse. They are LGBTQIA+. They are humans. They are members of our Portland community who embrace the continual evolution and improvement of the profession of policing.’
“But defunding the Portland Police Bureau is not the answer. Defunding will not make our communities safer. Defunding will not result in constructive and reasonable police reform. Defunding will not make the Portland Police Bureau better.”
The website linked above, points out several glaring facts that the “defund” crowd either choose to ignore, or are too blind to see. Each of these facts point out that defunding the Portland Police Bureau is not the answer.
First, in July of this year, Portland had 15 homicides and 99 shootings, up nearly 500% and 300% respectively compared to the previous year.
That deadly trend continued into August 2020, with 116 shootings in the City, up 280% compared to August 2019. Of the seven homicides in August, six of those were the result of gun violence.
Through August 2020, there has been a 180% increase in shootings from 2019, with 483 shootings so far this year.
“This spike in gun violence occurred right after City Council defunded PPB’s Gun Violence Reduction Team. Gun violence has disproportionately impacted communities of color, with nearly 66% of the July 2020 shooting victims from the Black community,” the website stated.
Next, the petition page highlights a recent Gallup poll that shows only 15% of Americans are in favor of abolishing police, while only 28% want to see their budgets reduced.
The time to act is now! Join us in Protecting #Portland. Sign the “Protect Portland” Petition to show support for Portland Police officers and urge City Council to stop defunding the Portland Police Bureau. https://t.co/nPRjhhCs9q
— ProtectPortland (@ProtectPDX) September 16, 2020
Yet, places like Portland, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and New York City are pushing legislation to do one of those two things. But, if the majority of people are against it, why are they continuing to move forward with their plans?
In one word: POLITICS.
And, time after time, the very ones that are screaming for police departments to be defunded, are the first to ask “where are the cops” when they need something. Just look at the Minneapolis City Council.
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – On September 15th, a meeting was held that hosted the Minneapolis City Council to discuss aspects related to police reform.
However, what the meeting turned into was more along the lines of asking “where are the police” as crime is on the rise.
Council members told MPD Chief Medaria Arradondo, during most of the two-hour meeting, that local residents are witnessing the likes of street racing, shameless carjackings in broad daylight, thefts, assaults and even shootings.
Minneapolis City Council members, some of whom support defunding the city's police department, say their constituents are “terrified” by a violent uptick.https://t.co/EnUY1zcKjI
— MPR News (@MPRnews) September 16, 2020
The general question being posed by the council was what the police chief was doing to address these ongoing criminal acts being reported.
Jamal Osman, the newly elected Ward 6 council member, said he has been getting flooded with calls and complaints from citizens that were alleging police calls are not being answered:
“Residents are asking, ‘Where are the police’?”
Osman stated that the local police is essentially the lifeline for certain areas within Minneapolis, and those calling for assistance aren’t allegedly being tended to:
“That is the only public safety option they have at the moment. MPD. They rely on MPD. And they are saying they are nowhere to be seen.”
Keep in mind, this line of questioning directed toward Chief Arradondo is coming just months after this very same council was doing all it could to have the MPD defunded and essentially dismantled. Now, after the council having pushed for a non-existent MPD, they seemingly want to know where the police are.
They’re worthless sacks of political destruction.
— Michael Faraday (@Faraday003) September 16, 2020
Current times in Minneapolis are not that great, when comparing crime in 2019 to that of crime in the current year.
According to MPD crime statistics, the amount of recorded violent crimes such as assaults, thefts and homicides is up relative to 2019. In the first nine months of 2020, more people have been killed in the area than killed in all of last year.
But it’s not just crimes akin to violence that are on the rise – property crimes have increased as well in the vain of car thefts and residential burglaries. With little surprise, cases of arson have increased by 55% when looking at the number of arson reports in 2019 up to this point.
— JB0304 (@jbooth304) September 16, 2020
Chief Arradondo did respond to the inquiries levied by the council, noting that the MPD is working to shift more officers onto patrol duties and investigations as well as trying to crack down on the robberies being reported.
But Council President Lisa Bender implied that officers from the MPD are basically intentionally ignoring calls for assistance when crimes are being reported.
She alleged that locals had told her that MPD officers had admitted to residents in the area that they’re purposely not enacting arrests of those alleged to have committed crimes.
Bender, who was one of the more vocal critics of the MPD when the calls to defund the department started after the death of George Floyd, further implied that police have always failed to properly enact their duties:
“This is not new. But it is very concerning in the current context.”
Chief Arradondo afforded the diplomatic response of Bender’s accusations against police, saying that it was “troubling to hear” and that he was look into the matter to see if there was any validity to the accusations.
However, other council members noted that MPD officers have complained that they’re not only overworked currently – but that they’re understaffed. Thus far, approximately 100 officers from the MPD have either left the department all together or have taken a leave of absence, according to Chief Arradondo.
— Jerry McLeod (@JerryMc97069366) September 16, 2020
To put that into perspective, that’s roughly twice the amount of separations that the department encounters annually.
But areas that typically don’t see that much crime, such as the 11th Ward, which is represented by council member Jeremy Schroeder, are now feeling “terrorized” by the influx of criminal activity. He said a new-found outbreak of robberies of businesses have alarmed and angered locals and business owners at 48th Street and Chicago Road.
The police chief acknowledged those concerns, explaining that a majority of those crimes in that area were being perpetrated by youthful offenders:
“Arrests have been made. There are still some pending charges. Both our juvenile units are pursuing those.”
Hey Minneapolis, this is what happens when you elect activist children to run a city. Maybe try electing actual adults and watch what happens. In the mean time, relish the hell you created.
— Lee Wayzata (@LeeWayzata) September 16, 2020
During the exchange, council member Phillipe Cunningham actually voiced his disdain that his associates were basically asking the police for help when he thought they were all on board with getting rid of the MPD:
“What I am sort of flabbergasted by right now is colleagues, who a very short time ago were calling for abolition, are now suggesting we should be putting more resources and funding into MPD.”
Well, perhaps some of these council members have seen what happens to a lacking police department that has also been demoralized. And obviously, residents don’t seem to be enjoying the spoils of these efforts.
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