Oakland’s Democrat Mayor Pleads for Reversal on Defunding Police After Getting Mugged by Reality

(AP Photo/Ben Margot, file)

Back in June, we reported on the emotional speech Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong gave in response to devastating cuts to his department’s budget to the tune of $17 million that came courtesy of the Defund the Police proponents on the Oakland City Council.

In the speech, Armstrong, who was born and raised in West Oakland, made one of the most powerful and passionate cases against taking money away from the police, saying that it was easy for politicians to reduce lives hurt and lost down to numbers while police officers had to see first-hand the devastating real-world consequences of powerful public figures playing woke games while people died in the streets.

“Saturday night, I went out to a scene of a young man who lost his life, and a lady yelled out the window, ‘Do something about it.’ Without the resources, it makes it challenging to make Oakland safe, and more families find themselves dealing with trauma,” he said at the time. “I hope that we could politics aside and put public safety first. Put people’s lives first before political agendas.”

As violent crime has surged in the city over the last several months, Armstrong has continued to sound alarm bells about budget cuts and lack of leadership from the city to effectively address the problem.

During that time, it may have seemed like no one was listening. But it turns out that someone was. Oakland’s Democrat Mayor Libby Schaff is now aggressively demanding that the City Council reverse course on their partial defunding of the police, saying now is not the time to pull money from those who put their lives on the line.

In a CNN interview done yesterday, Schaff responded to a question about last week’s brutal murder of retired police officer Kevin Nishita, who was working as an armed security guard in Oakland to protect a local news crew at the location of a prior “smash and grab” looting incident on which they were preparing to report. Schaff acknowledged how tragic the death was, and said that the city desperately needed more police officers and “appreciated” them (really?) but that “the defund rhetoric is challenging our ability to attract and retain recruits. And we know that that is not unique to Oakland.”

She also blamed staffing and training challenges on the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to calling for a halt to defunding the police after being pressed by CNN’s Kate Bolduan on how police unions and the like had been pushing back against the city for months, Schaff suggested that everything was on the table for review, and hinted that controversial bail reform measures supported by Democrats, which some have blamed for the horrific Waukesha, Wisconsin car plowing massacre that killed six, were among the things that should be reconsidered.

“We are looking at the interruption of our entire criminal justice system, the court system, the impacts of new policies with regard to bail. Everything is on the table as we look at a comprehensive approach to turn the tide of this spike in violence,” Schaff pointed out. She also called for state and federal resources to help local law enforcement combat organized and coordinated crime efforts that have been seen in the area in recent weeks.

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In a Zoom call on Monday with reporters, Schaff also talked about the city’s need to provide the police department with the funding it needed, saying that “There is nothing progressive about unbridled gun violence.”

I should note that this is not the first time Schaff has pushed back on efforts to defund the police, although she has supported similar efforts to “reimagine” policing via using social workers instead of police officers in certain instances. But it appears that this is the first full-court press she’s done in vocal opposition to the city council in the aftermath of their vote to pull millions back in June.

Considering how “woke” members of the council reacted with unbridled glee after the vote to partially defund, it’s not known if Schaff will be successful in her attempts to essentially shame members into changing their tunes.

But her vocal push, which as noted above she’s taken to the national level presumably out of desperation, just goes to show once again that in these Democrat-run cities, mayors are proving to be the last line of defense between sanity and chaos when it comes to defunding the police. We’ve seen it in Buffalo, New York City, Portland, Minneapolis, and elsewhere.

The “Defund the Police” movement hasn’t just been a disaster for Democrats politically, but it’s also proved to be devastating and deadly in the cities where it’s been tried.

It’s scary to have to rely on Democrat mayors to be the voices of sanity on this issue, but in cities with large concentrations of Democrats, you have to work with the hand you’re dealt. If you’re in such a city, keep the pressure up on your mayor when the Defund rhetoric heats up, because oddly enough they may turn out to be the lone voices of reason after all the chips are put on the table.

Flashback: Here’s Why the Prog Left Are Running Away From ‘Woke’ as Fast as They Can