MATTHEWS: More big-city Democrat mayors begin to see folly of defunding police

San Francisco Mayor London Breed talks about the first confirmed case of the omicron variant during a COVID-19 briefing outside City Hall in San Francisco, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. The U.S. recorded its first confirmed case of the omicron variant Wednesday — a person in California who had been to South Africa. Genomic sequencing on the patient's virus was conducted at the University of California, San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

In September 2020, I wrote a column about how opposition to the “Defund the Police” movement was growing in places you’d think it wasn’t. 

The movement, which rose to national prominence in the summer of 2020 in the aftermath of the officer-involved death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, was embraced by Democrats to varying degrees, with some wholeheartedly wanting to yank funding from police departments. 

Others, like then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris, expressed an understanding as to “why” the calls for such were being made, and vowed to “listen” to such voices in their administration if elected. 

But while top Democrats were busy in the summer, fall and winter of 2020 virtue signaling about the supposed righteousness of radically progressive organizations such as “Black Lives Matter” — whose leaders and prominent supporters were appearing in news interviews talking about things such as “abolishing the prison system” — other groups that consisted primarily of black and Hispanic activists were lobbying their local leaders in Democrat-run cities like Minneapolis against defunding the police. 

While the groups acknowledged there was a need for police reform, they also understood that reform shouldn’t come in the form of fewer police or no police. Polls were taken nationally showing an overwhelming amount of support from black and Hispanic communities for policing at the same or elevated levels in their city neighborhoods. 

Around the same time that all this was all taking place, some of the big cities where Democrat leaders were busy denigrating police officers and proposing pulling funding for them started to see dramatic spikes in violent crime, including in Minneapolis, Oakland and Chicago. 

I mean, who could have guessed that declaring police officers menaces to society and threatening to cut their budgets would embolden criminals? 

One of those city “leaders” was San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who in July 2020 announced she wanted to redirect $120 million from law-enforcement budgets to criminal justice reform efforts, which involved addressing “disparities” that she asserted were harming the black community. 

But in the fall of 2021 as the crime spikes continued, with “smash-and-grab” sprees taking center stage in iconic American cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, some of the loudest proponents of defunding the police began changing their tunes regarding the role of the police, including Breed. 

Breed announced last week in a fiery press conference that she was ready for a more “aggressive” approach to combatting the smash-and-grab crime that is plaguing her city, an issue that is partially responsible for causing people to move away from the area in droves. Breed’s plans involve relying more heavily on the police. 

“It’s time the reign of criminals who are destroying our city, it is time for it to come to an end,” she told reporters. “And it comes to an end when we take the steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement, more aggressive with the changes in our policies, and less tolerant of all the bullsh*t that has destroyed our city.” 

“We will do this while continuing long-term reforms like our Street Crisis Response Teams and the expansion of mental health beds,” she also wrote in a Twitter thread. She continued, saying that “we also need there to be accountability when someone does break the law. San Francisco is a compassionate city, but our compassion cannot be mistaken for weakness or indifference.” 

In the famous words of Bruce Willis’ “John McClane” character in the movie “Die Hard,” I’d like to give a big “Welcome to the party, pal!” greeting to the San Francisco mayor. It’s just too bad she and her fellow Democrats in the city didn’t realize the harm of their dangerous anti-police rhetoric sooner, or maybe they wouldn’t be having the problems they’re seeing now. 

Media analyst Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.