I’ve watched with increasing dismay – even disgust – at the calls of extremists in the Democratic Party (specifically, the leftist wing that controls that party) to “defund” police departments across this country. This ridiculous idea has to be among the pantheon of the most unthinkable of public policy ideas I’ve heard of. All of this., of course, is in “response” to any hint whatsoever in the media of police “misconduct” or “excessive force”. That claim has now been crystallized by the case of George Floyd – who has since this incident has been lionized – even beatified – by the liberal media as the penultimate “victim”, even some kind of martyr or saint.
I’m a Boston, Massachusetts criminal defense attorney. It’s my job and dedication to defend people accused of crime. In the courtroom, I’m on the opposite side of the aisle from police and prosecutors. Despite this, I find this ludicrous idea to defund police departments to be very offensive – and obviously, very dangerous. There are ‘bad apples’ in every profession (including the legal profession), but over my career of more than 25 years, I have found the vast majority of police officers to be honest, admirable people. And this attempt to disparage and disempower police departments, born of liberal extremists but advocated by the mainstream media, is both dangerous and noxious.
From the videographic evidence that I’ve reviewed of Floyd’s arrest, I agree that the arresting officer, Derek Chauvin, used excessive force. But lost in all the media mayhem that followed, were these facts:
- Floyd was a violent ex-convict.
- He had been arrested multiple times in the past for violent offenses; this was known to the Minneapolis Police Department and the officers who were subduing him.
- He had previously held a knife to a woman’s throat, threatening to kill her. He was, to coin the term, no “saint”.
At the time of his death, he had multiple, powerful drugs in his system including fentanyl and methamphetamine. In addition to fentanyl and methamphetamine, the autopsy results established that he also had heart disease and high blood pressure. Little of these facts mattered Derek Chauvin’s trial. He was convicted before that trial even began.
Since Floyd’s death, the following events have occurred (mainly last summer, but in no way limited to just then):
- Violence in the streets across this country, most notably in Floyd’s hometown of . Entire city blocks were burned to the ground.
- Businesses, homes, cars and property amounting to billions of dollars were destroyed.
- Hundreds of stores brazenly broken into and looted of everything they had.
- Shooting sprees and mayhem were unleashed, resulting in hundreds of shooting injuries and death.
And what followed this mayhem?
- An entire section of downtown Minneapolis was officially re-named “George Floyd Square – by city officials.
- A sum of several million dollars was paid to the Floyd family, by the city of Minneapolis.
- Floyd was made a “martyr” by the media and almost beatified as a saint.
And what followed after that? Insane calls to “defund”, shrink, and disempower police departments everywhere. It is indeed insane, isn’t it? The formula: 1) Claim that police everywhere are “racists” and “unfairly target minorities for arrest and “excessive force”. 2) Riot, pillage, rob and kill. 3) Order limits on officers’ ability to respond to this savage violence with force; then 4) In the wake of all this violence, call for police departments everywhere to be cut, defunded, shrunk, and shockingly limit the ability of officers to protect the p[public or themselves with force.
That meets my definition of lunacy.
In court, I’ll go up against any police officers or prosecutors in the advocacy and defense of my clients. But I will never call for the “defunding” of police departments. And neither should you.