St. Louis Police Chief: Officers are being shot. Our community is being destroyed. And you want to defund us?

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ST. LOUIS, MO – St. Louis Chief of Police John Hayden reported on the increasing violent crime in the city and said that running between homicides and protests “is exhausting.”

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Chief John Hayden told a local reporter that he has circled June 1st on his calendar, the day that marked the beginning of the violent protests that erupted in the city where retired St. Louis police captain, David Dorn, was shot and killed outside of a St. Louis pawn shop.

It was also the same night that four of the Chief’s own officers were shot.

Hayden said that the unrest began with the protests and that he sees a correlation between the protests and the increase in homicides.

Haden addressed the defund the police movement, saying St. Louis currently has 123 unfilled police positions and he said that what is needed to curb the violence was more officers on the streets, not less.

Hayden said that in all of his years of being an officer, not one person he has talked to in the community has ever demanded less police protection. To the contrary, they are requesting more officers on the streets.

Hayden told local Fox2 Now  that going into the month of June, the city was one homicide under the count from last year. Now, the city has 26 more homicides than this time last year.

Although he cited the protests and lack of officers as the biggest contributor to the increased crime, he said the coronavirus pandemic has left many people financially strapped, leading to shorter fuses.

He also said:

“At least half of the homicide numbers are drug-related and that many are rooted in domestic disputes or personal quarrels between people who know each other.”

Although Hayden didn’t overtly blame the uptick in violence on the civil unrest alone, he did seem to  connect the dots:

“There’s been a big surge where we’re 26 homicides up, year-to-date. This all started six weeks ago.”

Hayden also said his officers are “strapped,” and that morale was down:

“Officers are working 12 hour days and are being stretched emotionally. People are yelling at them and pushing them.”

Hayden called on the community to do more to stem the violence:

“It cannot be a law enforcement piece only. The social services are very helpful. Conflict resolution. We can’t be everywhere every time.”

In a controversial move, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson outed the names and even addresses of at least 10 of the rioters who were calling to defund the police in a June 29 Facebook live briefing on the coronavirus before coming under fire by the ACLU.

Krewson has since publicly apologized.

The city’s mayor emphatically said she would not support eliminating the police department, saying in June:

“Do we need to review, engage, report and reform? Of course we do, and we will, but we still believe we need police.” 

However, it is unclear whether the mayor will have enough political support to fund the 125 officer vacancies.

Krewson said:

“The way we are going to go, though, is to continue to try to find funds for social services.”

John Chasnoff, co-chair of the group Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression, insists there is room in the police budget for social programs, suggesting the 130 unfilled positions may be a starting point to siphon funds.

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Much like in other cities around the nation in this current climate, rather than police officers focusing on the community they are being paid to serve, they are being used as political pawns between city officials and groups that want to defund the police.

For example, authorities executed a search warrant at the St. Louis mansion of the couple, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who defended their home during a Black Lives Matter protest for the firearms that were pictured in a viral video.

The warrant immediately turned political, sparking a fierce national debate over the right of individuals to protect their own lives and property.

The couple’s attorney, Joel Swartz said:

“Under Missouri law, people who are in reasonable apprehension or fear have the right to take necessary steps to defend themselves.”   

Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner issued a statement about the incident saying in part:

“Any attempt to chill (the right to peacefully protest) through intimidation or threat of deadly force will not be tolerated.”

Gardner did not decry the gate that was broken by Black Lives Matter protesters to enter the couple’s private property or the reported threats to the couple.

Nor did she mention the threats of a second attack, to which the police would not respond.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said the prosecutor in the case for Mark and Patricia McCloskey has “a record of making politically motivated decisions not based on the law.”

Gardner was criticized during her initial run for circuit attorney in 2016 for accepting at least $30,000 from a super PAC belonging to George Soros, who is actively supporting Black Lives Matter, who call for defunding local police departments.

She has been no friend to police, nor the community, since she took the job, and has repeatedly placed the freedom of offenders above the safety of residents.

Gardner was also caught lying after attempting to sue police regarding a traffic stop of which she was the subject.

Schmitt said:

“Kim Gardner has an abysmal record in prosecuting violent crime, has recently released and been complicit in the release of dozens and dozens of inmates who have been charged with violent crimes, and has a record of making politically motivated decisions not based on the law.”

We would have to agree with Mr. Schmitt there.

 

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