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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has vowed to “defund” cities in his state that cut funding for police, and says a bill that will soon reach his desk will do just that once he signs it into law.
What are the details?
The legislation seeks to crack down on the City of Austin for cutting $150 million in funding to its police force, and to prevent other localities in the Lone Star State from slashing law enforcement budgets.
Over the weekend, Abbott retweeted a post from Austin Police Association President Kenneth Casaday, which read:
“APD Case number- 211430419 Shooting Call came out at 5:35am this morning. No units available city wide for 12 minutes. First Apd patrol unit Assigned at 5:47am Apd made scene at 5:51am, 16 minutes after the call came out. Victim critically injured after being shot in the head.”
The governor responded, “This is what defunding the police looks like. Austin is incapable of timely responding to a victim shot in the head. Texas won’t tolerate this. We’re about to pass a law-that I will sign-that will prevent cities from defunding police. Sanity & safety will return.”
“So here’s what we’re doing in the state of Texas to put teeth into this law that provides real consequences for cities that do defund the police,” Abbott told Fox News’ Harris Faulkner on Tuesday. “One, we’re going to dry up their revenue sources in a way that basically will put the city out of business.”
“We’re going to defund the city,” he continued. “We’re going to prohibit cities from being able to annex in the future but also allow people who have been annexed for 30 years to be able to de-annex.”
Abbott went on to point to other cities in the country that have seen soaring crime rates after leaders made deep cuts to law enforcement in response to protests following the death of George Floyd last year.
“First, the context, and that is that you pointed out what’s going on in Minneapolis, where it is both a tragedy and a disaster, what’s going on for the residents of Minneapolis because of the defunded police,” Abbot told Faulkner. “And you’ve seen the same thing in Portland and Seattle and Chicago and New York, et cetera.”
“Unfortunately, we had the same thing happen here in the state of Texas where the city of Austin defunded police,” he said, adding that “because Austin defunded the police, we wanted to do two things in this session: One, we wanted to make sure that there were going to be consequences for the city of Austin. The second is we wanted to make sure that no other city in the state of Texas would defund police.”