#DefundThePolice may be trendy, but hurts women

Protesters outside Wi Spa in LA (Image: Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock)

On Saturday, July 3rd, demonstrators assembled outside a Korean spa, protesting the fact a man was permitted to access the women’s area, naked, claiming to be “transgender.” The demonstration at Wi Spa turned ugly when Antifa showed up and began beating protesters. Noticeably, a police presence was lacking. When they finally did arrive (well after Antifa had taken over in the streets, using force and threats to intimidate protesters), they did little to intervene.

The LAPD claims there were no arrests. In their report, CBS said religious protestors threatened “demonstrators who showed up to support trans rights,” yet made no mention of attacks on feminist demonstrators. One might wonder, as YouTuber Karen Davis did, “Why can’t the cops intervene just to get this mob off this woman?”

The answer is that they are afraid to. I say this as someone who has needed help from police on two occasions in the past year. Both incidents took place after “defund the police,” “all cops are bastards,” and “abolish the police” became fashionable woke slogans — and both involved male violence. Since, I’ve had candid conversations with officers about the state of policing post-2020. These conversations have been both illuminating and frightening.

The first of these two incidents occurred on April 25 at 9PM. I was walking through a park in New York City and encountered a group of young men at the entrance to the park, threatening to beat up an old woman and destroy her car. When she yelled back at them, threatening to call the police, they mocked her voice. I took out my phone and started recording as I walked by.

Once I was spotted, the men began sexually harassing me.

“How you doin’ little girl?” one of them cooed at me. Another followed his lead, saying in a lisping high-pitched voice, “Oh my god yes, yes, yes. Work it! Oh my god,” presumably in imitation of an air-headed Valley girl. Like all catcalling, the purpose was not to incite my sexual interest, but to remind me that I am, in the eyes of degenerate men, a bimbo and mockable sex object who could be preyed upon at any any given moment.

I stood next to the woman, holding my phone in one hand and clasping pepper spray in the other. Angry that I was recording the scene, one of the men approached me aggressively, saying, “Are you recording me? Don’t you know that’s illegal?” I answered that I was recording him because I was afraid, and he dashed towards me, stopping only when I aimed my pepper spray his eyes and demanded he stop. “Oh you hit me with that?” he said. “Go ahead, pull it out! I’m gonna fuck you up!”

Whether he would have made good on that promise, I can’t say, since the police rolled up and I stopped recording. Had time lapsed even a couple minutes further, perhaps I would have been punched or stabbed.

Though police presence led him to back down, the officers themselves refused to get out of the car. One said he couldn’t take action of any kind because one of the young men or a passerby would surely pull his phone out and record the encounter with the intention of getting the officer in trouble. The officer felt it better to protect himself and not intervene. He did, however, offer us a ride.

The words the officer said to me in the car as he drove me home still resound in my memory: “This is what New York City wanted.”

While I’m lucky to not have been attacked, it was chilling to imagine that throughout New York City police might be deliberately sitting out incidents of battery, assault, domestic abuse, or even rape for fear that a hipster might get woke creds by recording him, especially if he resorted to force to protect a woman from male violence.

Of course, it’s nearly impossible to get hard data on how many police watch an incident unfold while doing nothing or who deliberately extend response time hoping to arrive at the aftermath of a crime scene when intervention is no longer necessary. I can only speak about my own experiences and those of my acquaintances, but I’ve been told by police that my experience is indicative of a wider trend.

My second encounter of this nature took place in February. A stranger began following a friend and I while we were walking to a parking lot in Tennessee. He attempted to talk to us, but we ignored him and continued to walk silently. He followed us for several more feet before striking me with great force on the left buttocks, clutching my flesh in his hand, and shoving me forward. I screamed and he muttered something before smirking and walking away. He then began to circle the area, seemingly reveling in our panic. We didn’t know if he planned to escalate, so  I took a photo of him in case.

My friend, who is Kenyan-Dominican and very dark-skinned, insisted that she be the one to call the police lest I  be labelled a “Karen.” When the police arrived, they were surprised I had such a good quality photo and asked for it so they could post it online. I let them know there was also a parking lot camera, which they promised to retrieve footage from. One officer asked if I would like to press charges. I said I would. “Awesome,” he replied. He told me that he takes incidents like this seriously because men sometimes start with sexual battery before they move on to rape.

After the police report was filed, the police walked us back to the car. One of the officers told me he was surprised that I wanted to press charges. He said that, since 2020, people have become more reluctant to file reports and that crime has significantly increased. When I asked him if he thought criminals were emboldened by the #defund movement, he said they absolutely were and that he and his fellow officers were afraid to do their job, since the public tendency is to immediately sympathize with the arrested. In an #ACAB world, there are no dangerous murderers or rapists. There are only bastard white cops preying on hapless black men.

Several days later the same officer called to tell me the perpetrator had been found. He said the assailant gave a false name and copped an attitude of “I know my rights.” Since the police did not yet have camera footage, they didn’t have “probable cause,” meaning that, according to the law, they didn’t have reasonable grounds to demand he present identification. With some trepidation, the officer fished for my sympathy, telling me that when they approached the perpetrator, bystanders pulled out their phones and started recording. “You know how it is,” he said. I was amazed they continued to try to arrest this man. Perhaps it was because I treated the officers like people, not villainous caricatures.

Several days later, the police obtained footage from the parking lot camera, and cornered the perpetrator once more. This time they had probable cause and demanded he present ID. They issued a warrant for his arrest under his real name and told him to turn himself in. A date was set for a preliminary hearing in felony court. Though I had gone back home to New York City, I had to fly back to Tennessee and stay in a hotel to attend criminal court. Yet, when the morning of the trial came around, the perpetrator did not show up.

When I walked inside felony court, I encountered a clerk who directed attendees to sit on a bench either on the left or right side of the room, depending on whether we were a defendant or a victim/witness. It seemed the judge would hear multiple cases in a row. Tense bailiffs circled the room but there were no restraints or dividers separating me from men charged with first degree murder, incestuous rape, domestic abuse, and other felonies sitting just feet away.

I watched my perpetrator’s defense attorney explain to the judge that she would like the date to be reset, since her client was nowhere to be found. The judge asked if the man had been in communication with her. She replied, “No.” He had ghosted the defense attorney taxpayer dollars provided for him. The judge denied a reset and the perpetrator received a failure to appear charge. I checked online several weeks later and found that, since then, he had been charged with assault and criminal trespass in addition to his sexual battery charge against me. I have no idea when I will next be asked to fly to Tennessee.

My friend in New York City told me that she’s felt even more unsafe, post-2020. Recently, she was chased through five train cars by a man who threatened to rape her, calling her a “cracker bitch.” He was stopped by another subway rider. A homeless man threatened to shove her to the ground and shit in her mouth. On another occasion, a man stalked her back to her apartment and began recording her when she went to call the police, leading her to hang up for fear of being the next viral Karen video.

Most police officers in New York are not white — 53 per cent are simply working-class minorities, and fail to fit woke imaginations or political narratives. Many officers police neighborhoods populated by civilians from their own ethnic group. Walking through Washington Heights years ago, I happened upon a Dominican street festival patrolled by police officers. Caribbean street food flavored the air amidst stalls filled with hand-painted statues of the Lady of Guadalupe and lively bachata music. A Dominican cop spoke playfully in Spanish to a little girl he obviously recognized from outside work and bantered with the locals. I wonder how this man would feel if an upper-middle class suburban Yale grad told him that he was a mindless tool of white supremacy, out to oppress his own community?

Police brutality is real, but so is criminal activity. If people can be monsters on the force, why is it difficult to imagine that people can be monsters on the street or in the home? I volunteer with an organization in New York that helps survivors of prostitution and domestic violence. One of the ways we do this is through an Economic Empowerment Program, which gives women the skills they need to secure white-collar jobs and escape dependency on abusers. We also help women find legal means, like restraining orders, to shield themselves from violent men. A lot of these women are not white. Would these women truly benefit if society made good on hashtags like #defundthepolice and #ACAB? I think not.

Apparently, low-income black New Yorkers don’t think so either, since many of them voted for Eric Adams, a black mayoral candidate with 22 years’ experience as a cop. Adams’ advertisements, which appear on the public news station NY1, show Adams recounting his personal experience with police brutality, how it drove him to reform the police from within, and his desire to create a safe New York with responsible policing. Unsurprisingly, Adams succeeded in low-income, high-crime, mostly minority neighborhoods, with up to 70 per cent of votes.

Policing is a tough job. Even with training, it’s never easy to make a split-second decision about how to act in a confusing and potentially lethal situation, especially if a female officer is dealing with a large, aggressive male. Women are especially vulnerable and have the most to lose from eliminating police protection. Things are not always so black and white — literally: Is a five-foot four black policewoman who shoots a six-foot, 200 lb white man charging her with a knife perpetuating systemic racism?

I often wonder, how sincere is anti-police sentiment, really? Apparently not very for folks like Maya Wiley, who ran a New York City mayoral campaign on a promise to defund the police while living in a $2.7 million dollar fortress guarded by private security.

You don’t have to believe that all police are valiant martyrs to believe they should exist. Taking huge amounts of funding away from police (Wiley proposed cutting about $1 billion from the policing budget) may not technically count as abolishing the police, but would be crippling. It costs money to run criminal investigations, for example, collecting and analyzing video footage and other evidence, as in my situation. Furthermore, fewer officers on the street means burnout among overworked officers or reluctance of officers to act if they feel outnumbered in a dangerous situation. It also means, of course, fewer officers ready to respond to a call, especially considering that officers spend a lot of time in court appearances.

As with any other job, there are people in policing who are ill-willed, incompetent, and occasionally even sociopathic. There are also earnest, hard-working officers who do the best they can and risk their own safety to help others. The problem with blanket applications of racism and sexism is that they erase the individual in favor of a stereotype and then discriminate based on that. This is exactly what New York’s pride march did when it banned openly gay officers from marching.

In our current state of political polarization there is a tendency to erase complexity on both the left and the right. To imagine that we don’t need police or that it’s never necessary to use force to suppress a threat could only be plausible to the insane or the exceptionally coddled. Perhaps it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that slogans like “defund the police” and “all cops are bastards” are popular within a culture that sees no problem with housing biological males in women’s prisons because they self-identify as women, regardless of their history of violence against women. If we fixate myopically on racial politics and buy into the oversimplified woke narrative that policing is nothing more than a matter of state-enforced white supremacist murder of innocent blacks, we do so at the expense of vulnerable women, many of whom are minorities. If we disempower the police, we empower men to abuse us and we empower political extremists like Antifa to take our rights away.

Dr. Devin Jane Buckley obtained her Ph.D. at Duke University where she studied philosophy and literature. Devin enjoys publishing outside the academic mainstream for audiences that appreciate clear writing and freethinking.

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