Defund in haste, repent at leisure. As disenchantment falls on residents of a city that was last seen as enchanting decades ago, its mayor has had an epiphany about defunding its police. London Breed declared yesterday that “the reign of criminals” was destroying San Francisco, and that “it is time for it to come to an end.”
Better late than never, I suppose, but Breed didn’t appear to mention her own role in the “bullshit” that created this situation:
Mayor London Breed launched an emergency police intervention in San Francisco’s crime-ridden Tenderloin neighborhood Tuesday, targeting a pipeline of illegal drugs that has been fueling a surge in gun violence and deadly fentanyl overdoses.
Breed’s anger and frustration over the crime surge in the city were on full display at her noon news conference.
“It’s time the reign of criminals who are destroying our city, it is time for it come to an end,” she said. “And it comes to an end when we take the steps to more aggressive with law enforcement. More aggressive with the changes in our policies and less tolerate of all the bullshit that has destroyed our city.”
Oooh, she said “bullshit”! That must mean Breed’s serious! That impressed the on-air personalities at KPIX, who noted that the mayor was “speaking your language,” but Breed has become bilingual in that sense. Breed now says she wants more police on the street, but that’s a sharp reversal from Breed’s position last year, the Daily Wire points out:
Breed’s remarks appear to contradict her prior position when she came out in support of the far-left defund the police movement in the wake of the death of George Floyd last year, saying that the incident “brought forward the devastating impacts of police violence against African-Americans in this country.”
In a July 31, 2020, statement, Breed said that she was seeking to divert more than $100 million from the San Francisco Police Department to social justice programs:
The Mayor’s proposed budget acknowledges the structural inequities impacting the city’s African American community, resulting from generations of disinvestment. The proposed budget reinvests $120 million in funds over two years, predominately from the City’s law enforcement departments, towards efforts to repair the legacy of racially disparate policies on health, housing, and economic outcomes for African Americans. …
Mayor Breed’s budget is informed by that process and recognizes that the African American community must continue to be involved in determining the specific allocations of the funding. Therefore, the Human Rights Commission will continue leading a community process to determine how the $120 million will be allocated.
Not all of the problems in San Francisco originate in the city. The state deprioritized theft prosecutions by raising the dollar value for immediate arrest and detainment to $950, touching off a wave of petty crimes that have retailers raising prices or even closing doors, for just one instance. The homelessness problem cited by KPIX extends across the entire state, too. However, Breed got in front of the Black Lives Matter movement quickly in the wake of the George Floyd homicide and demonstrations, jumping on the Defund the Police bandwagon when it was politically beneficial to do so. Breed’s actions and signaling over the past 18 months are a large reason why police in her city aren’t “aggressive” in the face of crime.
Now that the winds have changed, suddenly London Breed wants to be seen as Dirty Harry. If that means that San Francisco gets more policing and less crime, great. But how long will the winds blow Breed in this direction, and how quickly will she get passionate in the other direction when they change? Police rank and file in San Francisco who are about to be ordered to follow more “aggressive” policies probably are asking themselves that question right now. And if they’re smart, they’re looking for work in cities with more principled leadership.