Who needs police? This question, usually intended rhetorically, has come up repeatedly over the last 12 months. Some cities have learned the answer the hard way.
A pioneer in the movement to defund police is Minneapolis, the city were George Floyd died a year ago in a struggle with police. In June 2020, the City Council voted unanimously to abolish its police department. By September of that year, the incidence of violent crime had risen so dramatically that the council found itself wondering where the cops were.
Now a fresh case of anti-police-induced karma has been reported in Atlanta. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
An Atlanta city councilman and mayoral candidate running on a campaign of “reimagining public safety” became a victim of the city’s crime wave Wednesday when his SUV was stolen after an event.
Four people jumped into Councilman Antonio Brown’s 2016 Mercedes 450 and took off while he was speaking to a business owner, according to an Atlanta police report.
Brown had attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins combination store on Moreland Avenue earlier in the morning, according to the councilman’s Instagram account.
In a phone call with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Brown said the car thieves appeared to be kids and that one of them “acted as though he had a gun.”
He estimated the perpetrators to be somewhere between 7 and 11 years old.
A second source, station WSB, notes that Ben Norman, one of the community leaders Brown was meeting with, attempted to pull the young driver out of the car but was dragged along and received some scratches for his trouble.
The article quotes Brown as having said, “[I]t took police 45 minutes to arrive because 911 incorrectly assigned it as low-priority dispatch.” Perhaps an increased police presence in the community would have deterred the crime, making the 911 call unnecessary.
When asked whether he plans to file charges against the car thieves, Brown said he does not, adding:
This is a generational poverty issue. These kids, it’s 12:30 in the afternoon. Why aren’t they in school? Why aren’t we enforcing systems to ensure that if they are not in school, they’re in recreational centers?
Those are good questions. Finding answers to them might very well lead to the reduction in crime that Atlanta and other cities are looking for. Certainly, fewer police is not the answer, as Antonio Brown has discovered.