Wednesday, June 7, 2023
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‘Defund Police’ Movement’s New Goal: Win Local Elections

'We can have a system where the person who arrives doesn’t have ... the right to be judge, jury and executioner in that moment...'

(Headline USA) Amid the radical Left’s recent race riots, ostensibly to address the issue of police brutality, a a political action committee is forming to back extremist local candidates who want to redirect money from police departments into other social services.

An outgrowth of the “Defund the Police” movement, the WFP Justice Fund is led by the Working Families Party and the Movement for Black Lives’ Electoral Justice Project.

As often is the case in similar leftist activism outifts, the group’s website point back to a chain of other “parent” organizations, making the direct financial backers difficult to identify.

Many similar organizations are seeded by globalists including George Soros, Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg.

Soros’s hallmark in particular has been to fly under the national radar by focusing on targeted local positions, such as prosecutors and elections officials, who will then implement an agenda without regard for the actual law.

Despite its network of opaque umbrella organizations, the new PAC appears to make explicit its links to Black Lives Matter and to other openly pro-Marxist groups whose objectives go well beyond criminal justice reform.

Controversial BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors is listed as one of the members of its advisory board.

The PAC has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission and plans immediately to begin accepting contributions and vetting candidates to support.

Organizers described the effort to The Associated Press on Monday as a counter to the political power of police unions and a way to continue educating voters about what the “defund” push means.

Facing political backlash, many of the radicals have sought to revise and obscure the movement’s true purposes, with some now claiming that they do not actually wish to defund law enforcement.

“There have been people that have tried to create a straw man argument to suggest that this movement is somehow about abolishing the police altogether tomorrow,” claimed Maurice Mitchell, executive director of the Working Families Party, which backs democratic socialists and progressive candidates at all levels of government.

“This movement is about public safety,” said Mitchell, who also sits on the PAC’s advisory board.

However, some cities, such as Minneapolis and New York City, already have takento heart the shocking call to “defund” local police departments.

Mitchell admitted that one goal was to de-legitimize authority figures.

“We’ve abided by an era where ‘law and order’ was this stamp of approval, where law enforcement endorsements somehow signified legitimacy,” he said.

“So we are creating a counterbalance that can create the space for elected officials to do the work that’s being demanded from the streets,” he continued.

He added that the goal is “divestment from things that aren’t working and investment in things that are working.”

The PAC’s launch came the same day that President Donald Trump met at the White House with law enforcement officers and people who have had positive interactions with them.

But it hopes to capitalize on the “moment” provided to it by the death of George Floyd, which offered the catalysts for the recent riots and the ensuing wave of “cancel culture” against anything that represents traditional American values.

In June, a survey by the AP and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found a dramatic shift in the nation’s opinions on policing and race, with considerably more Americans than five years ago believing that police brutality is a serious problem and that too often it unequally targets black Americans.

Jessica Byrd, who leads the Electoral Justice Project and sits on the new PAC’s board, said that shift opens the door to policy changes. Yet Byrd and other organizers said they are aware of the fraught politics surrounding calls to “defund the police.”

At the White House, Trump continued his broadsides against the movement as his campaign sought to tie them to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who referred to police as the “enemy” in a recent speaking engagement.

“Reckless politicians have defamed our law enforcement heroes as the enemy,” Trump said.

“They call them the enemy,” he continued. “They actually go and say they’re the enemy and even call them an invading army.”

Byrd invoked the race card to deflect from the notion that the group’s extremist agenda was out of line with political norms, suggesting that the current condition of black Americans was no different than it was under oppressive systems like slavery.

She claimed that local policing derived its roots from enforcing fugitive slave laws before slavery was abolished and the Jim Crow segregation laws that followed abolition.

Thus, it isn’t “radical,” she argued, to support approaches like those made in Camden, New Jersey, which disbanded and rebuilt its police force, or the ongoing restructuring debates in Minneapolis or Los Angeles.

The idea, she said, is a “public safety” approach that spends more on education, neighborhood development and parks and recreation and that steers tasks now handled by police to other agencies.

Armed officers aren’t the ideal respondents “if a person is unhoused or a person is in mental health distress or if children are being too loud,” Byrd said.

“We can have a system where the person who arrives doesn’t have a gun, doesn’t have a baton and doesn’t arrive with the right to be judge, jury and executioner in that moment,” she said.

Mitchell and Byrd said the PAC could expand to target legislative races, since state lawmakers write much of the criminal code.

But mayors’ executive control of police departments and city councils’ control of police budgets, they said, are the starting point.

In Washington, D.C., City Council candidate Janeese Lewis George, backed by the Working Families Party, recently toppled an incumbent Democrat on a “defunding” platform and is in line to claim the seat in November.

She faced an establishment advertising onslaught that she said misrepresented her position by suggesting she wanted to abolish police altogether. That’s not the case, she said.

“I was coming from the standpoint that we want to reduce crime in our city—and the answer isn’t to continue to give money to the police department but to fund programs that work,” she said.

George said she’s simply inviting a serious conversation that goes beyond slogans. “It’s a gradual thing,” she said, “getting people to buy into innovative ideas.”

Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.

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