Police groups in New York City responded sharply to MSNBC contributor Brittany Packnett Cunningham’s claim that it’s not the Defund the Police movement but police themselves who are to blame for the recent rise in city crime.
“This rise in crime is not the fault of the movement,” said Cunningham, a former member of President Barack Obama’s 21st Century Policing Task Force. “It’s actually the fault of the police.”
She suggested that instead of continuing to fund institutions “that keep rendering themselves ineffective” there should be further discussion of gun control, livable wages, fair housing, and education.
Thomas Mungeer, president of the Police Benevolent Association of the New York State Troopers, was one of several police leaders to react to Cunningham’s assertions.
“The ‘defund the police’ message has continued to fall flat since last year, and we are now seeing the seeds that these so-called reformers have sown result in a skyrocketing crime rate,” Mungeer reacted in a statement to Fox News. “There is no other way to quantify what’s taking place – cutting police budgets and police forces and handcuffing police officers from doing their jobs equals unsafe streets for everybody.”
Former New York City police chief James Craig similarly pushed back against Cunningham in an interview on “America’s Newsroom” on Tuesday.
“First of all, it is not the fault of the police,” he said. “The vast majority of men and women serve with distinction and honor. It’s not their fault. It’s everything else that’s going on.”
Police officers, he said, have been “demoralized” because cities are increasingly “incentivizing” criminal behavior, referencing a recent decision by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., to drop charges against hundreds of alleged looters during last summer’s series of protests and riots.
Blue Lives Matter NYC founder Joseph Imperatrice was just as adamant that efforts like Defund the Police are essentially convincing criminals they will “get away” with their crimes.
“This world is in a very bad place,” Imperatrice told Fox News. “In my 16 year career as an officer & Founder of BLUE LIVES MATTER-NYC, I have never seen nor imagined we would be living in a time where criminals are justified for their actions and officers are continuously bashed and blamed. Defunding the police, knee jerk reactions to passing bills such as Bail Reform, The Diaphragm Bill, and the ending of Qualified immunity are sending a direct message to criminals that they can basically do whatever they want and they will get away with it.”
Imperatrice said it’s “irresponsible remarks” like Cunnigham’s that have made it a “stressful time to wear the uniform.”
“The bottom line is that officers need to be allowed to do their job,” he said. “They need to be able to proactively police the streets and have bad guys that are arrested be held behind bars and not re released to reoffend. There are people out there becoming victims because of irresponsible remarks such as these, they deserve better than that.”
The Defund the Police movement, however, has attracted some support in Washington, where progressive lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. have suggested cutting police funds is crucial reform.
Curtis Sliwa, a Republican candidate in New York City’s mayoral race and founder of the Guardian Angels, non-profit international volunteer organization of unarmed crime prevention, suggested former President Teddy Roosevelt is turning in his grave watching the Defund the Police movement at work.
“To defund the police, take guns from police, and blame police for the growing crime problem is to render the police into a Reactive and not a Proactive force. This is not Nirvana. The followers of AOC, better known as All Out Crazy, want to weaken policing even more. The Rough Rider Teddy Roosevelt, the Father of modern day policing, is probably turning in his grave as these events unfold,” he said.
Crime is reportedly the No. 1 issue that brought voters to the poll’s in Tuesday’s mayoral primary in New York City, as the city experiences a wave of hate crimes, subway assaults, and shootings. Violence even struck the mayoral campaign of Democratic candidate Eric Adams after one of his volunteers was repeatedly stabbed in the Bronx on Sunday afternoon.
A new Fox News poll revealed that a majority of people think crime is on the rise nationally, which statistics have confirmed. Crime surges are not limited to the Big Apple, with spikes documented in major cities across the country such as Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Portland.
In the same poll, over 70% of those surveyed said they “trust” law enforcement.