Last June, the city of Portland, Oregon, hopped on the “defund the police” bandwagon. Now, it is flooded with gun violence, and the mayor is already backtracking from his support for the cuts.
Mayor Ted Wheeler has requested $2 million in emergency funding for the police department, pointing directly to the surge in gun violence. At this point last year, Portland had seen just one homicide. This year, that number is 20, with 208 shootings in the city so far.
Wheeler backed the Portland City Council’s decision to cut $15 million from the police budget last June, which included disbanding police units that investigate gun violence. Predictably, that move backfired in a city that saw 100 consecutive days of violent rioting last year.
Riots are back once again in the city, thanks to Wheeler’s spinelessness. Rioters have once again targeted a federal courthouse in the city, a reprise of the violent storming of the courthouse last July. In June, it was reported that the city lost around $24 million due to the riots. Damage to federal buildings totals roughly $2.3 million.
Portland, like Minneapolis, doesn’t have and never did have an overpolicing problem. The city has an underpolicing problem, compounded by cowardly city leaders who pander to anti-police activists. Portland city leaders, just like their Minneapolis counterparts, humored these leftist ideologues while turning a blind eye to riots. Now, they reap the whirlwind in the form of a surge in violent crime.
And this is Portland, so there is no Republican to blame for this issue. Wheeler is a Democrat. So are the city council members, with one independent who was endorsed by the council’s Democratic members. Gov. Kate Brown, who said that former President Donald Trump was “provoking confrontation for political purposes” by protecting the courthouse, is a Democrat. So is President Biden, who currently has federal agents trying to protect the courthouse.
Nor is there any plausible way to blame the availability of guns in Oregon or in neighboring states. Guns are exactly as available today as they were before this 2,000% surge in murders.
This is what happens when people who are tasked with actually running a city embrace ridiculous ideologies to please activists. I would say that Portland residents deserve better, but this is the leadership they chose for their city. Given the failures of Wheeler and the city council to this point, the voters are the only ones who can change course.
If the 2020 election is any indication, it won’t be happening any time soon.
Author: Zachary Faria, Commentary Fellow
Source: Washington Examiner : Portland cut police funding and got a 2,000% surge in murders