EXCLUSIVE: A Republican group is releasing an ad attacking Democrats over recent calls to defund and abolish police departments in response to the death of George Floyd, playing up the uncertainty about who would respond to emergency calls if police departments are abolished entirely.
Local officials have suggested such a dismantling of the police force in Minneapolis, though other prominent Democrats including Joe Biden have pushed back on such calls.
The State Government Leadership Foundation (SGLF), a policy group that works with the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) to elect Republicans to local offices, will push the ad via television buys and targeted digital buys in Atlanta, Dallas, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Charlotta, N.C., and Tampa, Fla. Titled “Danger,” it depicts a scared woman calling 911 during a home invasion, only to be told by the operator that “a human resource officer is currently unavailable” and that the government could send help between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. the next day to help with the emergency.
“Defunding the police has become the centerpiece of the Left’s radical movement – and it’s struck America’s mothers and fathers with the fear of having to wonder who they’re expected to call when their family’s safety is in jeopardy,” SGLF Executive Director Austin Chambers said. “From Minnesota to Georgia and all across this country, state conservatives will continue to stand strongly in support of their communities, law enforcement, and meaningful police reform.”
Chambers added: “The Left’s aspirations for a lawless society is too great a threat to the safety of Americans. We’re going to do everything we can to stop these radical proposals from becoming a reality.”
Not all Democrats have endorsed calls to abolish or even defund police departments. Biden and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., are two of the most notable national Democrats to resist the movement. And House Democratic leadership warned its members last week to avoid taking a hard stance on the issue.
But calls to defund and dismantle police departments have gained popularity with local officials across the country, going from a fringe idea to the talk of much of the political left in a matter of days as anger over Floyd’s death in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department — and alleged excessive use of force by departments around the country in handling the resulting protests and riots — has boiled over.
The SGLF ad is set in Minneapolis, which is the site of the most radical and rapidly advancing movement among local government officials to dismember their local law enforcement institution.
Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender last Monday appeared on CNN’s “New Day” to explain her city’s plan for a “police-free” society. She explained that “we can shift the response away from our armed police officers into a more appropriate response for mental health calls, for some domestic violence calls, for health-related issues.”
But when host Alisyn Camerota asked her what would happen during an armed invasion — like the one depicted in the SGLF ad — she dodged the question.
“Do you understand that the word, dismantle, or police-free also makes some people nervous, for instance?” Camerota asked. “What if in the middle of [the] night, my home is broken into? Who do I call?”
“I mean, I hear that loud and clear from a lot of my neighbors,” Bender said. “And I know — and myself, too, and I know that that comes from a place of privilege. Because for those of us for whom the system is working, I think we need to step back and imagine what it would feel like to already live in that reality where calling the police may mean more harm is done.”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.