HOUSTON, TX – With the calls to defund police having been sparked earlier this year, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is now among the elected officials nationwide taking a stand against cities and localities attempting to deplete funding for police departments.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs 'Back The Blue' pledge and says he will defund cities that defund the police – ABC13 Houston https://t.co/63TNv4DPer
— Mercedes Harris (@mercedh) October 29, 2020
The Lone Star State governor has presented what he calls the “Back the Blue” pledge, which this pledge includes proposals to defund cities that opt to defund their police.
When speaking about the pledge in question, Governor Abbott stated the following:
“We have a duty to support the man and women who risk their lives to keep us safe. That is why we’re asking every elected official in the state of Texas – as well as every Texan – to join us in signing this ‘Back the Blue’ pledge.
This is a commitment to fight any efforts, at any level, to defund police. And already more than 125,000 Texans have signed this pledge.”
Governor Greg Abbott was in Houston today to sign the “Back the Blue” pledge. 🖊 Part of his plan includes defunding cities who defund the police. For example: Austin. He also said if the capital city continues on that path, they’ll take over parts of APD. pic.twitter.com/vOy3nnnt2J
— Erica Simon (@EricaOnABC13) October 28, 2020
The Texas governor was joined by numerous people during the announcement, which included Senator John Cornyn, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen.
Commenting on the consequences of defunding police departments in various cities, Governor Abbott said that enabling such efforts only “invites crime” into the respective areas that choose to defund their police departments:
“To defund the police, like what we’ve seen in Austin, and what’s reverberating in cities across the state…they are disgraceful…They are reckless. It invites crime into our communities, and it endangers law enforcement officers and their families.”
Dr. James Douglas from the Houston NAACP is critical of Governor Abbott’s take on defunding police departments, alleging that the governor doesn’t understand what proponents of the movement are “talking about”:
“Rather than militarizing the police, we need to get them some help so they can properly deal with the public. And that’s what defunding the police is talking about. Putting the money in the place where they can do a more effective job of policing.”
Nonetheless, Governor Abbott says that during the upcoming legislative session, he plans to propose said effort in defunding cities that defund police departments.
"Abbott spoke at the Houston Police Officers' Union and was joined by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, among others."
— Houston Police Officers' Union (@HPOUTX) October 29, 2020
On top of that measure, the governor also plans to present legislation that removes annexation powers from cities that defund police, offer protections to officers that deal with riots and also create mandatory minimum sentences for offenders who assault police during riots.
When remarking on how the city of Austin slashed a third of their police budget, Governor Abbott entertained the possibility that the state should take over policing certain areas in Austin that have been affected by the defunding:
“We will not allow that core function to be undermined by the cities that seek to defund and dismantle the law enforcement agencies that have a sworn duty to preserve and protect their communities.”
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick also delivered accolades to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a Democrat, due to the Houston mayor calling for additional funding for police:
“They are not a Republican. They are doing the right thing. The judges in this county are not. The DA is not. Police go out there and put their lives on the line, arrest someone and they are out the next day … hardened criminals.”
Apparently the Harris County District Attorney’s Office was not thrilled by the comments made by Patrick regarding not “doing the right thing,” pointing to the fact that the DA has little control over criminals getting released from jail on bond.
HOUSTON – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed his back-the-blue pledge in Houston on Wednesday as he continued calls to stop efforts aimed at cutting police budgets.#BridgeTheBlue #SilentNoMore #RefundThePolice #Houston @GregAbbott_TX https://t.co/mKnnykikOs
— Bridge The Blue (@bridgetheblue) October 29, 2020
The HCDAO’s spokesman, Dane Schiller, released this statement in response to Patrick’s comments:
“We work hard every day to protect the public and hold criminals accountable. Texas law is crystal clear: bail is set by judge, not prosecutors. It is a judge’s duty to decide when, how, and if a defendant should be released on bail pending trial.”
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As mentioned earlier, Governor Abbott is not the first to have suggested defunding cities that defund police.
Florida Governor Rick DeSantis shared the same sentiments back in September.
Here’s that report.
FLORIDA – In what can only be described as the most aggressive and encompassing form of combatting the defunding of police endeavors and the violent riots that go in tandem with those efforts, Governor Rick DeSantis proposed legislation that has been dubbed as the “Combatting Violence, Disorder and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act”.
And by reviewing the proposed legislation highlights, those in favor of riot-free cities are likely to cheer…as for those adoring or engaging in riots, they’re not exactly thrilled.
But one of the more interesting portions in this legislation is state grants or aid will be pulled from local governments that decide to defund their police departments.
Today I announced bold legislation that creates new criminal offenses and increases penalties for those who target law enforcement and participate in violent or disorderly assemblies. We will always stand with our men and women in uniform who keep our communities safe. pic.twitter.com/ITl5GmmrZJ
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 21, 2020
The proposed act is broken down into three separate sections, which are labeled as:
- New criminal offenses to combat rioting, looting and violence
- Increased penalties
- Citizen and taxpayer protection measures
From what the breakdown of each section reads, this would be a monumental tool to cease the types of acts that many have witnessed across the country over the past few months in the era of rioting, arson and looting.
According to the first section dedicated to combatting the likes of rioting, the following is written:
“Prohibition on Violent or Disorderly Assemblies: 3rd degree felony when 7 or more person are involved in an assembly and cause damage to property or injure other persons.”
While this may sound an awful lot like a riot, Florida law is rather vague on the definition of a riot – which then reverts to interpretation of rioting in common law – but also affords an additional charge for acts akin to rioting (basically, two felonies charges instead of one).
The first section on the proposed legislation continued with laws against “obstructing roadways” that would also make it legal for drivers harassed by a mob of unpermitted protesters to flee from safety and not suffer any legal consequences for possible death or injury to said members of the mob. Obstructing the roadway would also result in a 3rd degree felony.
Also, protesters harassing patrons of establishments “such as a restaurant” would result in a misdemeanor. What that would mean is a group of people who were say surrounding someone having a meal and yelling at them to raise their fist for BLM would all get arrested.
That’s not all though – toppling monuments or damaging any public property during a riot or protest will also land someone with a 2nd degree felony if this legislation passes. But this legislation gets even better…because it would also utilize RICO liability for anyone who is found to have funded or organized any violent or disorderly assembly.
When it comes to the “increased penalties” portion of the act, malefactors who strike a law enforcement with anything – be it fist or projectile – during any “violent or disorderly assembly” would have to spend a minimum of six months in jail.
Further sentence enhancements are also mentioned for anyone throwing an object during a riot that strikes anyone, be they law enforcement or not. Also, anyone who travels from out of state to participate in “a violent or disorderly assembly” will get a sentence enhancement for alleged crimes.
But section three, dubbed as the “citizen and taxpayer protection measures” really reinforces that this act is aimed at making sure innocent people affected by these riots will attain justice – and that local governments will be held accountable for enabling the acts of rioters:
- No “Defund the Police” Permitted: Prohibits state grants or aid to any local government that slashes the budget for law enforcement services.
- Victim Compensation: Waives sovereign immunity to allow a victim of a crime related to a violent or disorderly assembly to sue local government for damages where the local government is grossly negligent in protecting persons or property.
- Government Employee/Benefits: Terminates state benefits and makes anyone ineligible for employment by state/local government if convicted of participating in a violent or disorderly assembly.
- Bail: No bond or bail until first appearance in court if charged with a crime related to participating in a violent or disorderly assembly; rebuttable presumption against bond or bail after first appearance.
It’s with little surprise that those in support of the riots are mad – or even still trying to lay blame on police officers for people rioting and burning down buildings.
Man – you folks really love that gaslighting. I'm sure police just made people loot shoes stores, set buildings on fire and terrorize restaurant patrons. I think you're just mad that miscreants will get hemmed up.
— Greg Hoyt (@GregHoytLET) September 23, 2020
But aside from those upset, many online are absolutely thrilled at the proposed legislation brought by Governor DeSantis.
And all things considered, it’s hard not understand why many would be on board with an act of this magnitude.
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