Charlie Sykes
The Bulwark Presents
Morning Shots with Charlie Sykes

Why Not Abolish the Police Unions?

July 9, 2020
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Some interesting new numbers from the Monmouth poll: Only 18 percent of voters think “defund the police” means “get rid of police,” while 77 percdent say it means “change the way police operate.” In other words, “most people view ‘Defund the Police’ more as a call to action than a literal policy position.”

Notwithstanding that result, I’d suggest that if “defund,” doesn’t actually mean defund, perhaps you should stop using the term “defund.”

But what’s clear is that there is a wide consensus about the need to reform policing, which raises the nagging question: Why aren’t we having a more robust debate about getting rid of police unions?

The Wall Street Journal has a disturbing profile of the police boss in Minneapolis, where George Floyd was murdered. Union President Robert Kroll, “had a history of getting into off-duty barroom brawls—including one in which he lost a piece of his ear….” That sounds intriguing but the WSJ reports that details are hard to come by because “obtaining Minneapolis police disciplinary records is difficult.”

“A public summary of complaints made against Mr. Kroll from the department’s internal-affairs bureau includes 22 complaints and few details. Mr. Kroll was disciplined for three of the complaints, according to police records.”

So much for accountability.