Democratic mayors in nearly two dozen major cities across the United States who have publicly called for defunding the police have received personal protection from a police detail at taxpayers' expense.
An analysis of 25 major U.S. cities conducted by Forbes showed that in at least 20 of them, mayors and other city officials have said one thing publicly but have privately reaped the benefits from a dedicated police security presence.
Calls to defund the police coupled with taxpayer dollars spent to protect public officials only occurred in cities run by Democratic mayors, according to the report.
Baltimore, for example, slashed $22 million from its police budget in 2020 but didn't have a problem spending $3.6 million for 14 officers to protect Mayor Brandon Scott, State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, and Police Commissioner Michael Harrison.
Maryland's largest city saw widespread protests against police in 2015 following the death of Freddie Gray and again in 2020 over the death of George Floyd. Gray, a 25-year-old black man, was arrested in April 2015 for possession of a "switchblade," thrown into the back of a Baltimore Police Department van, and found unconscious 45 minutes later with his spinal cord nearly severed. He spent seven days in a coma.
Floyd, a black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. His death triggered coast-to-coast protests over police brutality and calls to defund the police.
The city of Chicago spent $17.3 million between 2015 and 2020 to guard "unnamed city officials," according to information gathered through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Even though Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she was against defunding the police, records show that 400 police officer positions were cut last year while the cost of the security detail hit an all-time high of $3.4 million for 22 officers. The city spent $2.8 million for 17 officers in 2019; $2.8 million for 16 officers in 2018; $2.7 million for 20 police officers in 2017; and $2.9 million for 16 officers in 2016.
In San Francisco, officials made headlines for promising to divest $120 million from police over two years and move the money into health programs. However, the city spent $12.4 million between 2015 and 2020 to protect Democratic Mayor London Breed.
The cost of Breed's security detail has increased over the years, with the city spending $2.6 million in 2020 compared to $417,489 in 2016.
San Diego city council members this year budgeted $2.6 million for 12 full-time officials to protect Mayor Todd Gloria, as well as city council members during meetings and for security at the city administration building. However, Gloria's budget proposed a $4.3 million cut from the police overtime budget while spending $1 million to set up the Commission on Police Practices, a new oversight body to review and evaluate complaints brought by the public against police officers.
As crime spiked in New York, the city slashed $1 billion from its $6 billion police budget in 2021, reallocating $354 million to help curb homelessness and promote educational services. However, Mayor Bill de Blasio, his wife, and his son have had no problems traveling the country with an NYPD security detail.
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Original Author: Barnini Chakraborty